Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Thursday, 27 November 2008

ArcelorMittal looks to cut jobs

Lakshmi Mittal
Arcelor founder Lakshmi Mittal is one of the richest men in the world

ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, is to offer voluntary redundancy to up to 9,000 employees, around 3% of its total workforce.

The 'voluntary separation programme' is part of the company's aim to cut costs by $1bn (648m;775bn euros) in response to falling global demand for steel.

The focus will be primarily on sales and administrative employees, rather than factory workers.

Arcelor has already announced output cuts of 30% in the fourth quarter.

"The global economic reality means that it is only sensible to adopt such measures," said Bernard Fontana, Arcelor's executive vice president.

The proposals are being presented to its Select Committee of the European Works Council at a meeting at 1300 GMT.

US cuts

Separately, the steel giant agreed late on Wednesday with the United Steelworkers Union to offer voluntary redundancy to around 500 workers, having warned last week that it might lay off 2,444 workers in the US.

Arcelor said it was pleased to have reached the agreement "which substantially alleviates the number of workforce reductions necessary at its Burns Harbor [Indiana] facility".

The proposed US job reductions were designed to "address the unprecedented downturn in business, which is a direct result of the current extraordinary economic environment," the company said.

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