Retiring ArcelorMittal CEO increases retrenchment fears - union

(iStock)
(iStock)

Cape Town - Trade union Solidarity on Wednesday expressed concern after Wim de Klerk, CEO of steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA), announced his retirement at the end of January 2018.

The trade union’s concern about De Klerk’s announcement stems from the 189A retrenchment notice issued by AMSA on 16 August.

Marius Croucamp, Solidarity’s deputy general secretary in the metal and engineering industry, said in the context of the pressure currently experienced in the steel industry, this announcement increases the stress of members who might be affected by the retrenchments.

“It will intensify the major uncertainty that the employees are already experiencing,” explained Croucamp.

Solidarity is actively involved in talks with the company to discuss alternatives to retrenchments and minimise the possible retrenchments at AMSA.

According to a notice issued to shareholders, the company will start a process to find his successor. The board has agreed to De Klerk’s decision to retire, it said.

De Klerk will continue to work on implementing various initiatives within the company and assist in ensuring a smooth transition until he retires, the note read.

ArcelorMittal SA appointed De Klerk in May 2016, when the loss-making company was battling cheap imports and rising costs. He replaced Paul O’Flaherty, who resigned to pursue other interests, Fin24 previously reported.

Under De Klerk’s leadership the manufacturer managed to conclude a steel agreement with Highveld Structural Mill and Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium. This resulted in the reopening of the Highveld heavy structural mill, making available the supply of locally produced structural steel products in the market.

In August ArcelorMittal SA announced cost-saving interventions, assessments of the profitability of various product lines and retrenchments in the next six months to address its challenges.

These changes are subject to consultation between government and trade unions, the company said in a statement.

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