Solidarity made the decision to invite the Department of Trade and Industry to the next ArcelorMittal retrenchment meeting.
The reason for the invitation is so that the ministry can get first-hand information from the company regarding the reasons for the retrenchments. Among other things, reference has been made to power tariffs, steel imports and rail freight tariffs, all of which have a negative impact on the company’s cash flow.
Amsa CEO Kobus Verster said that due to prevailing market conditions, they have no choice but to restructure, but apparently Amsa has the capital to make a R300 million offer to acquire a portion of Highveld Steel’s heavy structural mill. Therefore, there is a clear contradiction between Amsa’s reason for retrenchment and its actions regarding the recent offer to buy the structural mill.
ArcelorMittal announced that it plans to reduce as many as 2 000 jobs, and that in a country with an unemployment rate of about 29%. Solidarity wants to make it clear to the minister that no worker currently employed by the company should become part of these statistics.
Taking into account the massive unemployment in the country, the minister must come up with proposals to assist this company, and others that may follow, in these difficult times.
Solidarity believes that retrenchment is not the solution; it is merely an adhesive dressing to prevent the ulcer from bursting. The ulcer under the dressing should be examined so that plans can be made to treat the ulcer without the need for the dressing.
The invitation to the minister’s office was sent on 6 August 2019.
Solidarity is currently awaiting feedback from the minister’s office.