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Algeria : 7200 Arcelor-Mittal Workers Begin an “Unlimited Strike”

Translated Sunday 17 January 2010, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Derek Hanson

The Arcelor-Mittal workers in Annaba, in eastern Algeria, began an “unlimited strike” on January 12.

The Arcelor-Mittal workers in Annaba, in eastern Algeria, began an “unlimited strike” on January 12, answering a call from their trade union which condemns the refusal of management to invest in the renovation of the coking plant at the steelworks, the general secretary of the union told the AFP press agency.

“The steelworks are completely paralyzed. The workers have been rallying since this morning in front of the offices of management,” Smaïn Kouadria told the AFP.

“Management has told us that the renovation of the coking plant is not a priority,” he added.

Factory management had decided last October to close the coking plant, which was built 30 years ago, for one year, the time needed to conduct renovation work, but it later abandoned the project, according to the trade union.

The El-Hadjar plant, near Annaba, is a subsidiary of Arcelor-Mittal, the gigantic multinational steel company. Some 7,200 workers at El-Hadjar produced 750,000 tons of steel in 2009, according to chairman Vincent Le Gouïc.

The Indian company Ispat, one of the companies belonging to the Mittal group, bought a 70% share in El-Hadjar in October 2001. El-Hadjar was formerly state-owned.


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