Italian government grants ArcelorMittal ten days to present its industrial plan for Ilva

“ArcelorMittal wants to fully honor the commitments it made,” on 4 March, “even with the difficulties caused by COVID-19,” said Lucia Morselli to the ministers. “We are working on the plan, but the situation changes every 24 hours. We need about ten days,” she added. The CEO pointed out that the company in February and until March 10 doubled its daily production compared to last year. “Mittal’s intention to make this company great remains the same even now,” she reassured. For its part, the government said it was willing to co-invest with ArcelorMittal for a “strong, productive, market leading Ilva that has 10,700 employees and makes significant investments with state intervention,” said Gualtieri, defining “reasonable” the ten-day extension for the plan presentation. However, unions fear that that of ArcelorMittal is just another bluff. “Mittal will present an industrial plan that will not satisfy the unions nor the government, and will then be able to leave Italy, putting the blame on others,” commented Mirco Rota of Fiom.

“The reality is completely different from what was represented to us,” said the secretary general of Uilm Rocco Palombella, adding that “if we do not put our hands on the business plan we risk strong social tensions, which we are not in a position to control”. For the trade unionist it is “true that the market has weakened, but not such as to stop the plants”. According to CEO Morselli, the former Ilva will return to roll as soon as it can send its products, while now “only slabs can be made” as mechanical customers “are consuming their stocks”. Furthermore, Morselli said that in Taranto, despite a 60 percent of reduction in the ArcelorMittal Italia’s turnover in the past few months, blast furnaces were protected while elsewhere throughout Europe they were turned off. The production of the former Ilva currently stands at 7,000 mt of liquid cast iron per day, an all-time low.

The agreement of March 4 between the Italian government and the company provides that ArcelorMittal can leave the plant by the end of this year, paying €500 million if the new investment contract is not signed by November 30. The government, however, is aiming at getting a much higher compensation according to media sources.