Steel giant ArcelorMittal SA said Tuesday it will cut an unspecified number of jobs next year and stick with plans to use 70 percent of its capacity in the current quarter.
The company plans to cut jobs through attrition and "optimization of production," spokesman Bill Steers said in an e-mail.
The Luxembourg-based steelmaker hasn't decided about production beyond this year, he said.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, reported this week that ArcelorMittal would use 70 percent of capacity for four more years and planned about 10,000 job cuts worldwide, with most likely to occur in Europe and the U.S.
But Dave McCall, District 1 director for the Pittsburgh-based United Steelworkers and chairman of the bargaining committee with ArcelorMittal, said the union has received no layoff notices from the company. Nor does it expect "any kind of mass layoff" with the strong U.S. market, he said.
"Ours is the strongest steel market in the world. Even at the height of the recession, we were consuming 70 million tons of steel per year," McCall said. "In 2010, we expect demand to be 90-100 million tons. That's 100 percent of what it was in 2007."
ArcelorMittal is also restarting its bar mill in Indiana Harbor, McCall said, "and they're going to need to either recall or hire 150-200 employees for that."
The USW represents about 14,000 U.S. employees of ArcelorMittal, which has major steelmaking operations in East Chicago and Burns Harbor, Ind.; Weirton, W.Va.; Cleveland, Ohio; Sparrows Point, Md.; Steelton, Pa.; Georgetown, S.C.; and Riverdale, Ill. It also owns finishing plants, and iron ore and coal mines.
Local 2911 President Mark Glyptis said that while the company has cut a dozen management jobs in West Virginia, it hasn't discussed laying off rank-and-file employees.
ArcelorMittal is the world's largest steel maker, with operations in more than 60 countries and about 115,000 employees in Europe. At the end of 2008, it had 315,867 employees worldwide and 36,686 employees in North America.
ArcelorMittal posted a third-quarter profit of $903 million after three consecutive quarterly losses, but said in October that the market was slowly improving.
The company also said it expected higher shipments and steel prices in the fourth quarter and would focus on growth in developing markets, mainly South America and Asia, by restarting key expansion projects in Brazil and India.
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