Unions from more than 20 countries commit to advancing worker rights at steel giant
Unions representing Arcelor Mittal workers from more than 20 countries around the world unanimously voted to establish an Arcelor Mittal World Council at the International Metalworkers’ Federation’s first Arcelor Mittal world meeting held in Montreal, Canada from September 16-17.
Delegates committed to fighting for common goals including:
• Stronger collective agreements that secure decent wages, retirement incomes, safe workplaces, and a voice in company decisions that affect workers,
• Company investments to support new and upgraded facilities, the highest environmental standards, and new developments,
• Safe and healthy workplaces and environmentally sustainable operations that is healthy and safe for communities and families,
• Respect for human rights of communities impacted by corporate operations, and respect for the right to union representation,
• Full access to information about corporate acquisitions, mergers, investment strategies, and other developments that impact union members,
• Maintaining the integrity of employment relationships and eliminating outsourcing and contracting out, and
• Implementation of accepted International Labour Standards.
In addition to establishing an Arcelor Mittal World Council, the agreement also called for extending the current International Framework Agreement between the IMF, European Metalworkers’ Federation and Arcelor to include all Mittal operations. Discussions between the IMF and Arcelor Mittal about implementing the IFA were off to a good start when Arcelor Mittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal, addressed the conference asserting that the company is committed to working towards “raising the bar” of health and safety standards across the globe.
Bernard Fontana, executive vice president of human resources for Arcelor Mittal, also attending the meeting, said management hopes that IFA implementation will occur “sooner than later” and that the company was prepared to dedicate resources to ensure proper execution of the IFA.
IMF general secretary Marcello Malentacchi was optimistic regarding the IFA discussions but noted, “trade union rights, human rights are not negotiable. This is a given right. This is why I hope we sign the same agreement with a new name, Arcelor Mittal IFA.”
The Arcelor IFA was signed in September 2005.