Arcelor Mittal in Contrecoeur - Mass Layoff



    BROSSARD, QC, April 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Arcelor Mittal has just sent the
Minister of Labour a mass layoff notice affecting 190 workers at their
Contrecoeur location. The mill will be temporarily closing down is operations
for an indeterminate period of time as of April 18. The continuous casting
sector will experience the same fate June 27. "This is really bad news coming
after the layoff of 450 workers when both the hot mill operations and the cold
mill operations were shut down in 2008. We requested an emergency meeting with
the employer to determine measures that could minimize the impact of these
layoffs," Pierre Arseneau, union representative for United Steelworkers (FTQ).
    President of local section locale 6586, Claude Langlois, explained that
this decision does not bode well for the future. He explains that "when the
company closed its rolling mills in March 2008 and transferred production to
Dofasco, there was a question of keeping long products such as billets and
wire rod in Québec. We kept continuous casting to continue to supply Dofasco's
production. There are currently no orders for the third quarter. In terms of
the processing plant, we learned that the company has a huge inventory of
pellets in its Trinidad-and-Tobago plant. So it wants to take those pellets
and send them directly to our steel mill in Contrecoeur without going through
our processing plant. What's going to happen in the medium term? We don't yet
have a re-opening date."
    Both union leaders were dumbfounded to see that the company, having
promised to build a steel beam mill that would offset the layoffs caused by
the shut down of the rolling mills, is announcing further layoffs instead. "We
are very worried, they say, not only for our workers but for Quebec. Where are
the industrial strategies of the Charest and Harper governments' to help
Quebec get a foothold in the super-competitive global steel market?"
    The Contrecoeur location employs some 825 people of which 590 are members
of United Steelworkers.




For further information:

For further information: Pierre Arseneau, United Steelworkers (FTQ),
(450) 656-1113; Claude Langlois, United Steelworkers (FTQ), local section
6586, (450) 587-2036


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