Marseille judge suspends order to shut down Fos-sur-Mer

The administrative tribunal of Marseille has suspended the June labour inspection authority’s order to idle ArcelorMittal’s steelmaking facility in Fos-sur-Mer, southern France, due to excessive emissions, Kallanish notes.

On 16 June, the steelmaker was notified by the labour inspectorate of a decision to temporarily shut down the steel shop department of the Fos site. The shutdown would have also caused the shutdown of all other units. Faced with what it called “a disproportionate” and “totally unfounded” decision, ArcelorMittal has been working to avoid a plant stoppage and appealed to the Marseille tribunal (see Kallanish 28 June).

In the court document obtained by Kallanish, the judge says the closure of the site would generate considerable short and medium-term costs, “as well as a risk for the complex steel plant for which a shutdown process would take several weeks … Following exchanges with the labour inspectorate, the company has already implemented a certain number of measures”.

The steelmaker has also planned works in the short term to reduce pollution and has vowed to implement a feasibility study to modernise its steelmaking process to limit dust emissions. The judge concluded that the immediate shutdown of the steelworks “seriously undermines the freedom of trade and industrial activities”.

ArcelorMittal did not comment before press deadline.

Natalia Capra France