Global steel giant ArcelorMittal announced Friday that it will begin rehiring some of its staffs declared redundant in 2015/16 following the Ebola crisis which had severe impact on all companies here in July this year.
The company redundant over 400 staffs in 2015/16 on the heels of the Ebola outbreak here which affected the operations of companies in addition to a drop in the price of iron on the world market.
In a statement issued Friday February 24, 2017, following the signing of a third Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), between the steel giant and its local workers union-the United Workers’ Union of Liberia (UWULLocal #4, ArcelorMittal Workers), the company said among other things that it will begin re-hiring some of the redundant workers starting in the third quarter of 2017, while conducting a comprehensive job mapping to adjust salaries where they are inconsistent with the positions.
ArcelorMittal further stated that it will reinstate some benefits reduced to save jobs during the redundancies, beginning July 2017. It also added that it will continue a joint health and safety committee in addition to a monthly engagement between the Workers’ Union and management, while a Peace Obligation binding the management and union will follow requisite procedures ensuring that all disputes are resolved internally, at the lowest levels.
The BCA is a document that governs all aspects of the company and its employees’ relationship.
Signing on behalf of the Company, ArcelorMittal Liberia CEO Michel Prive spoke on the resilience of the workforce during Ebola and challenging market conditions. “The main element in my opinion is to recognize the contribution of our employees in this very difficult period,” he stated. Lauding the CBA negotiation process, Prive said “the CBA negotiation provides an opportunity for dialogue with our union towards improving mutual understanding on issues. Today, we can say that after some weeks of discussion, we have agreed to the terms of the CBA and the steps to go forward.”
President of the ArcelorMittal Liberia Workers’ Union, Oldpa Zogbay praised the CEO and management of ArcelorMittal Liberia, while also calling on workers to continue to cooperate with the management towards strengthening the organization. “I am proud of ArcelorMittal Liberia’s leadership under Michel Prive,” he said.
“I first doubted Michel when he arrived in Liberia, but I have found him to be a smart leader and one who is willing to bring ArcelorMittal Liberia back to its original position. There was no harshness, or intimidation throughout the process. We know where the company stands, and from now press release Page 2 of 3 to 2018 all things will be okay.”
Zogbay also commended the national union for its role in the process under the leadership of David Sackoh, Secretary General of the United Workers Union of Liberia. He furthered his confidence in the document saying “we are ready to sign and we know workers will be happy.” He congratulated the staff and thanked the management for listening to them, the workers.
According to David Sackoh’, speaking on behalf of the United Workers’ Union of Liberia, the negotiations ended in a “win-win” situation, though under “tedious circumstances due to management constraints with lower iron ore prices, depletion of high quality ore in Tokadeh, and transferring to Gangra.” He noted that issues affecting workers and the management were settled.
Assistant Labour Minister Emmett Crayton called the CBA “one of the best documents I have seen.” He also advised the Management and Union to make certain that the document is not be kept on the shelf, but fully implemented. He used the opportunity to encourage ArcelorMittal to continue with its localization training and plan of local employees and bring in experts ready and willing to transfer knowledge. The negotiations between ArcelorMittal Liberia management and the Worker’s Union executives which began in March 2016, and was postponed, concluded on February 24, 2017.
This CBA will be in effect for two years, with certain elements including salaries, due for review at the end of each period. ArcelorMittal Liberia’s first CBA in 2012 made the company the second major investor in Liberia to sign a CBA with workers, and many see such agreements as major contributors to the general economic growth and wellbeing of the country.
Signing the document were ArcelorMittal Liberia CEO Michel Prive and other management representatives, Minister of Labour Neto Leigh, ArcelorMittal Liberia Worker’s Union President Oldpa Zogbay, and Secretary General of the United Workers’ Union David Sackoh.
ArcelorMittal ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 19 countries. Guided by a philosophy to produce safe, sustainable steel, we are the leading supplier of quality steel in the major global steel markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with world-class research and development and outstanding distribution networks. -New Dawn