Steel Giant and Unions Commit to Innovative Health and Safety Program

The world's largest steel company Arcelor Mittal and trade unions representing its employees from over 20 countries today announced a new and innovative approach to Health and Safety concerns in the company.

Meeting in Montreal at the International Metalworkers' Federation's first world conference of Arcelor Mittal and its trade unions, the company and the unions committed themselves to a joint programme of education and training to raise health and safety standards throughout the company.

The new approach will see the creation of a task force of trade union and company health and safety experts from across the globe that will target plants in the group in order to work to dramatically improve their performance. Through our commitment to work jointly together we can work towards our vision to eliminate hazards workers encounter in their daily work.

Marcello Malentacchi General Secretary of the International Metalworkers' Federation explained, "Occupational health and safety is undoubtedly the single most important issue for working people, irrespective of which region of the world or country in which they happen to live.

"It is a proven fact that union workplaces are safer workplaces and we are looking forward to working with the company in not only making health and safety its number one priority but a true reality."

Leo Gerard International President of the United Steelworkers added, "Arcelor Mittal is one of the world's most profitable steel companies, but the true test of any great company is not only on the balance sheet but the way it treats its workers.

"This agreement will demonstrate to Arcelor Mittal employees across the globe that their welfare will be the foundation of the company's continued success and that solidarity for unions means more than just empty words."

Michel Arsenault, USW Quebec Director spoke about a recent experience saying, "Quebec Steelworkers went to Algeria and Mexico to exchange with colleagues who also worked for Arcelor Mittal. They realized that they must intensify their contacts and develop solidarity so that the wages and working conditions may progress in every plant owned by this company.

"The development of a company must not be based solely on labor costs but rather on innovation, for example."

According to Arcelor Mittal President and Chief Executive Officer Lakshmi Mittal, "Arcelor Mittal sets Health and Safety above all other priorities and is committed to achieving the highest standards for our employees. We have instilled a strong safety culture at every level of the company that is supported by a robust set of safety standards.

"We are pleased and encouraged in joining our trade unions in achieving our joint vision to be the safest steel company in the world. One of our first joint initiatives since the merger of Arcelor and Mittal was the undertaking of a global safety and health day on March 6, 2007 wherein management and trade unions from around the world simultaneously committed to achieving our safety and health goals."

The International Metalworkers' Federation represents the interests of 25 million metalworkers in 100 countries around the world.

http://www.imfmetal.org

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