Luxembourg steelworks ArcelorMittal today announced the sale of its Dudelange and Liège sites to Liberty House Group.
On 2 November 2018, ArcelorMittal's management announced its acceptance of a binding offer from Liberty House, a financial fund of Indian origin, to purchase its sites in Dudelange and Liège.
The Luxembourg trade union has expressed its disagreement with this decision to sell to a financial rather than industrial actor. In this regard, the LCGB has questioned the strategy behind this manoeuvre which the union believes to have confirmed its fears expressed on 30 October 2018.
In July, Salzgitter submitted an offer for the acquisition of the Dudelange site as part of the sale required by the European Commission in order to comply with European competition rules. Until 12 October 2018, Salzgitter was the most likely buyer for a possible takeover before ArcelorMittal announced the takeover of the Ostrava, Piombino, Galati and Skopje sites by Liberty House, which ArcelorMittal asked for a 3-week postponement for the Dudelange and Liège sites. This postponent appears to have allowed Liberty House to enter negotiations.
The LCGB will now meet with its Belgian colleagues from the CSC to continue their unity on this issue with common interests and will send a letter denouncing this situation to the European Commission. The LCGB also met ArcelorMittal's management this afternoon to decide on this sale and clarify the rest of the procedure.
Be that as it may, the LCGB has demanded from the buyer a formal commitment to maintain the social agreements in force, including the collective agreement and the tripartite steel agreement. The union argues that the buyer must also submit an industrial plan and future investments to ensure the sustainability of the production site and the jobs of all employees.
Finally, the LCGB has appealed to the new Luxembourg coalition government to faithfully respect the positions taken at the announcement of the sale of the Dudelange site to protect the future jobs of 300 employees. As a result, the LCGB has urgently requested a tripartite steel meeting through its Monitoring Committee.