1 July, 2021The ArcelorMittal global union network brought together 90 leaders from around 30 trade unions in 15 different countries in an online meeting on 29-30 June, to discuss challenges, in particularly increasing workplace accidents and social dialogue at all levels.
There were lively discussions on labour relations and social dialogue, which is lacking, particularly at the international level. In May, 2,500 ArcelorMittal workers in Canada went on strike over wages, pensions and broken promises, and have come out victorious.
Participants noted with horror that deteriorating health and safety conditions with exploding fatalities throughout ArcelorMittal operations. Fatal accidents have occurred in Kazakhstan, Spain, Ukraine, Poland and South Africa.
Participants shared several conflicts around the world; in Brazil, Europe, Canada and Ukraine, and demanded a functioning global structure to address and resolve conflicts if local level social dialogue fails.
Bart Wille, executive vice president and head of human resources at ArcelorMittal Group, presented on core issues, like ArcelorMittal group’s strategy on decarbonization and green steel. This will change the stage and will affect the workplaces of today’s approximately 170, 000 employees. Although willing to discuss with participants, ArcelorMittal maintains the position that local conflicts need to be solved where they arise and no additional global structure is seen as necessary.
Meeting participants reiterated that the 2020 Declaration is still valid and that there must be genuine social dialogue at ArcelorMittal operations around the world, in spite of what the company management assumes.
“We appreciate ArcelorMittal’s presence in the meeting, however we expect them to do more. We demand that they enter into a genuine structured dialogue concerning the realities of workers, strategic concepts affecting the workforce, health and safety and the future of jobs.
“To this end, we want and need a global structure with a clear commitment from ArcelorMittal . We want more than nice words, but instead real engagement! Our 2020 Declaration is our guideline for which we fight all together,”
said IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan.
Participants held a moment’s silence for Jose Quirino Dos Santos from Brazilian union CNM CUT, the coordinator for the ArcelorMittal National Union network in Brazil.