ArcelorMittal extends Italy furlough, could keep majority stake

ArcelorMittal Italia has told unions it will extend temporary layoffs for a further 13 weeks starting from 16 November. The furlough extension has been granted by the government to all Italian companies in response to the Covid-19 crisis, Kallanish learns from union sources.

The new furloughs affect 8,140 employees including production workers, office workers and managers at the company’s main steelworks in Taranto. ArcelorMittal Italia told unions the extension is due to the effect of Covid-19, which continues to have an impact on orders and deliveries.

The Taranto works is still producing at minimum capacity. Commercial and distribution activities are also heavily reduced and a union source says the company will probably end the year with 3 million tonnes of crude steel production.

The company extended layoffs in July, then again in August and again in September (see Kallanish passim). Ordinary layoff schemes have overlapped with the new Covid-19 layoffs.

ArcelorMittal Italia declined to comment.

Meanwhile, as negotiations continue between the company and the government over the future of the former Ilva plant, press reports in Italy claim ArcelorMittal will maintain a majority stake in the mill. The government, which will invest in the new entity through its subsidiary Invitalia, is meanwhile set to take a 40% share.