Paris: ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel maker, said on Monday it was considering further job reductions but did not confirm union projections of 10,000 cuts.
“There were discussions on the possibility of a global reduction in jobs next year” during a meeting of the company’s workers’ committee on 9-10 December, a spokesman said.
He said any reductions in the workforce of 287,000 would probably come through routine departures and improvements in production.
A union representative, Jacques Laplanche of the CGT, who took part in the meeting last week, said the company “announced plans for 10,000 job cuts in 2010.”
Edouard Martin of the CFDT union said: “We were not given details by country but France should not be heavily affected.”
He put the number of job cuts at 10,000-15,000.
In the face of declining demand for steel in last year’s economic downturn, notably by the construction and auto sectors, ArcelorMittal in the first nine months of 2009 reduced its staff by 29,000 posts.
Laplanche said the company in 2010 planned to operate at 70% of capacity.
While demand for steel has lately been reviving, the market remains fragile, with prices still below pre-crisis levels and recovery dependent largely on China, which is also the world’s leading steel producer.