Italian government prepares for ArcelorMittal exit

The meeting between Italian government and ArcelorMittal Italia union representatives over the steelmaker’s future was considered “…inconclusive and a let-down,” union sources tell Kallanish. A new meeting has been scheduled for next week.

The latest industrial plan submitted by ArcelorMittal has been judged unacceptable by economic development minister Stefano Patuanelli. In a note seen by Kallanish, union representative Rocco Palombella says ArcelorMittal submitted “…a liquidation plan, not [a plan for] the relaunch of the plants, which implies an environmental and employment disaster… It is a plan to earn some time to get to the end of the year when, by paying only €500 million, they [ArcelorMittal] will be able to leave.”

At present, 8,200 workers in Taranto are on temporary layoffs, Palombella continues. Taranto employs over 10,000 workers.

Meanwhile, Federacciai president Alessandro Banzato has expressed his full support for the government. In an interview with local paper La Stampa, Banzato welcomed the possibility of government participation in the matter but only with defined timing and with the view to return Ilva to a private entrepreneur.

“Until Taranto belonged to a private entity, the Riva family, it had a positive cash flow,” he said. “Therefore, I insist: a public intervention is welcome at this stage – better if in a partnership with players from the steel sector – but with a defined time schedule and with the guarantee that the company will go back to a private entity.”

The Fiom Fim and Uilm unions have been on a 24-hour strike starting on 9 June in all facilities of ArcelorMittal Italia. The strike was a protest against the company’s new industrial plan that involves massive job cuts and delayed investments (see Kallanish passim).