ArcelorMittal Steelworkers Win Higher Pay in Algeria

Workers will receive a 15% pay increase

The 7,000 workers at ArcelorMittal Annaba, the Algerian subsidiary of the multinational steel giant, have won a 15% pay rise after a two-day strike, their spokesman Smain Kouadria said on July 8. "We obtained a rise of 15% in the basic pay scale, and re-evaluation of some key jobs making up three percent of the total pay roll, and we signed a company agreement with the management," Smain Kouadria said.

Some 7,200 workers at the northeastern steel plant in El Hadjar and at ArcelorMittal sales points in the country went on an indefinite strike on July 6, but returned to work late on July 7 in light of the deal.

The pay increase will be a graduated one within a two-year time frame laid out in the collective bargaining agreement.

The Algerian workers had demanded higher pay, improvements to their working conditions, particularly at the hot furnaces and in the steel rolling mills, and a re-evaluation of their family benefits and pensions.

Kouadria said on July 8 that the deal would benefit the company as well as the steel workers since it includes measures that will "have a positive impact on the return to work and productivity."

Both management and the union acknowledged that the global financial crisis and poor sales of steel products within Algeria had had an impact on the firm's activities, according to Kouadria.

ArcelorMittal faces competition from Italian and Spanish companies seeking their share of the Algerian market.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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