The Differdange site is the flagship of Luxembourg's steel industry.
Roland Bastian, the General Director of ArcelorMittal Luxembourg, welcomed the distinguished guests with a short introduction, stating that in these times of a global pandemic, the visit of HRH the Hereditary Grand Duke and the Minister of the Economy is "a great encouragement for the employees of ArcelorMittal who are committed every day to serve our customers around the world". Bastian added that "ArcelorMittal's innovative products, ever more environmentally friendly and integrated into prestigious projects, allow the Grand Duchy to shine far beyond its borders".
From capacities around the world, through Covid-19, the economic crisis, and the "green deal", the steel industry is facing major challenges. After four months of negotiations and tripartite talks, the Lux2025 agreement was finally signed at the end of January, a guarantee for investments in Luxembourg sites but also confirmation of the elimination of 500 jobs.
The plant in Differdange produces and assembles impressive beams, which are then sent all over the world for unique projects, such as skyscrapers or bridges that rely on Luxembourg expertise and quality. A site which, despite its worldwide fame, has strongly felt the consequences of the crisis. US import taxes alone have led to a 50% drop in the market between 2018 and 2020.
Michel Wurth, President of ArcelorMittal Luxembourg, points out that "the coronavirus is not the only factor making life difficult for us in recent months. The ensuing economic crisis and the horrible trade wars have contributed to the situation we are now experiencing".
Added to this was the challenge of proposing a plan for the future of Luxembourg's sites. At the end of this tripartite process, it was decided that of the 3,600 jobs that the steel giant provides in Luxembourg today, 500 will be eliminated by 2025. So far, 78 early retirement agreements have already been signed.
On a more positive note, between 165 and 205 million euros will be invested in order to modernise and develop the ArcelorMittal sites in the Grand Duchy over the next five years, as Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot stressed. Fayot also explained that this money will be used in particular to preserve jobs and Luxembourg's quality in the world, while keeping in mind the elimination of CO2 emissions by 2050.
New York, Rabat, Dubai - Luxembourg around the world
Thomas Georges from the Differdange factory says that they produce the heaviest and most imposing beams and that is why they are exported all over the world.
"These beams represent all of Luxembourg's know-how, innovation, and capacities", Fayot proudly concluded.