Arcelor Mittal Liberia announced Thursday that it has reduced its workforce by 167 jobs as a result of continuing unfavorable market conditions and changes to the company’s operating model.
It said in a statement that the decision follows a statement issued by the company on 11 November, 2015 in which it announced its intention to reduce its workforce by up to 450 jobs related to the support infrastructure and operation, as well as some indirect contractor jobs associated with the mine.
“The size of the reduction was dependent on the outcome of negotiations with unions concerning changes to employment practices and the cost base of the operation,” the company said. The company further announced the repatriation 24 expat workers to their home countries. It said while the announcement of 167 job losses is significantly less than originally anticipated, the impact on the individuals affected is deeply regrettable.
Arcelor Mittal laments that the mining industry is facing significant challenges as a result of low iron ore prices, which is putting pressure on mining producers to run their assets as efficiently as possible.
The company said, this month it is implementing a new operating model which operates at a lower cost base. This involves selling 3MT of DSO to the European market only, in order to reduce running costs.
It adds that its decision fully confirms with Liberian law and its wider obligations to employees and other stakeholders. “In line with ArcelorMittal Liberia’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a one-month consultation process with the Workers Union has taken place. The company has also held discussions with the Government of Liberia and informed the Ministry of Labour,” the company wrote.
Michel Prive, CEO ArcelorMittal Liberia said: “We deeply regret that the current economic environment is not allowing us to maintain employment at current levels. Changing the operating model and further reducing costs is required to ensure the competitiveness of the operation. We understand that this is difficult news for the affected employees.
ArcelorMittal has a deep commitment to Liberia and its people. We were the first international company to commit significant investment after the war, and we have led the way in the revitalization of the country’s mining industry, creating thousands of jobs and boosting the economy. That commitment remains, despite the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the steep decline in iron ore prices and the challenging economic environment”.