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Ternium CEO not yet fit for Steelie award

10 October, 2017IndustriALL Global Union is questioning the nomination of the CEO of Ternium, one of Latin America’s largest steel producers, for a prestigious award by the World Steel Association (worldsteel).  

Ternium CEO, Daniel Novegil, is one of four candidates nominated as ‘Industry Communicator of the Year’ at the 8th Steelie Awards, which will be held in Brussels on Monday 16 October.

However, Novegil’s company has repeatedly ignored and refused to communicate with Sitraternium, the union representing Ternium workers at its plant in Guatemala.

On 14 September 2017, IndustriALL, Sitraternium and the United Steelworkers filed an OECD complaint against Ternium for its violations of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises concerning workers’ rights in Guatemala.

In a letter to Edwin Basson, worldsteel’s director general, Carlos De Sanctis of the Tenaris Ternium Workers’ World Council, said the council “has raised our concerns and sought dialog with the company multiple times, however it has received no response from Mr. Novegil or anybody else at Ternium. Although courts have ruled on multiple occasions that the company has acted illegally to prevent workers exercising their fundamental rights, the CEO has made no public statement on the matter and the company has continued their illegal rights violations”.

He added “we believe that under the current circumstances Mr. Novegil does not ‘present the best face of the steel industry to the world at large’, which this award is said to recognize.”

Over the past four years, Ternium International Guatemala has fired labour leaders and only rehired them following a court order; denied the payment of union leave even when the Guatemalan law calls for it; and rejected all efforts of the union to negotiate a collective agreement, even when the vice-minister of Labour of Guatemala offered his services as a mediator.

Nominations for the award for ‘Industry Communicator of the Year’ are chosen by worldsteel and voted for by members of the media. Daniel Novegil is a board member of worldsteel, while Paulo Rocca, who is Chairman of Ternium, is on the Executive Committee.

IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, said:

“We urge Mr Novegil to live up to his nomination as Industry Communicator of the Year and strike a dialogue with his employees in Guatemala as soon as possible. As CEO of Ternium, he has a responsibility to communicate with, as well as listen, to workers. We again call on Ternium to recognize and negotiate with Sitraternium.”

Ternium, which is headquartered in Luxembourg, is one of the biggest steel companies in Latin America with more than 19,000 workers at production facilities in Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, as well as the United States.   

Sitraternium is affiliated to IndustriALL through Guatemalan union federation, FESTRAS.