Some 4,000 workers at Romanian steel firm ArcelorMittal Galati on April 16 returned to work after being forced by a court to end a pay strike on the ground there could be an explosion at the plant. The judicial order to end the strike at Romania's largest steel unit, part of ArcelorMittal SA, followed a plea by management that there could be an explosion at the coking plant due to reduced operations.
In a separate ruling on April 16, a Galati court pronounced the strike to be "illegal," according to company spokesman Dorian Dumitrescu, who added that "social dialogue" would continue.
"It is a political, judicial and financial plot against the workers," said Gheorghe Tiber, head of the Solidartatea union which launched the strike on April 14.
The strikers wanted their net salaries -- averaging 750 lei (US$ 328) after taxes and deductions -- to be doubled, along with a hike in bonuses for extra work and aid for families of workers injured in accidents or killed.
Company officials have rejected negotiations to date, backing a general work contract it says increases their gross salary -- to 2,350 lei -- and has been signed by nine out of the 11 unions, representing three-quarters of the factory's 14,000 workers.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008