Trade Unions: U.S. Steel Sacks 29 People, Violates Memo with Gov’t

Stock photo by TASR

Kosice, March 17 (TASR) – The decision of U.S. Steel Kosice to scrap 29 white-collar jobs as of April 1 goes against the 2013 memorandum between the Government and U.S. Steel Kosice, representatives of the KOVO trade union and the company’s trade unions stated at a press conference on Thursday.

“The memo allows achieving more effective organisation structures only via attrition and termination of job contracts following mutual agreement with affected staff,” said U.S. Steel Kosice trade union leader Mikulas Hintos.

“We view this as an unfair approach at a time when we’d accepted the option of early retirement for a financial compensation as embedded in the collective agreement,” said Hintos.

Eighty people recently agreed to terminating their contracts with the company. “We had expected that this would be the last of the lay-offs, so we were shocked to hear that another almost 30 people are to be dismissed,” stated Hintos, adding that people at U.S. Steel now feel insecure.

According to Hintos, U.S. Steel Kosice had even bigger economic problems in the past, but it didn’t resort to such drastic measures at the time. Moreover, the planned lay-off concerns many highly qualified employees who’ve undergone costly training in the USA. This even includes a top manager, so this indicates tense relations in the company’s management, claimed the trade union leader.

Hintos further noted that U.S. Steel Kosice has recently been reaching far better results than other plants of the corporation. For example, the operational profit for 2015 reached $80 million, while only the first two months of 2016 were in the red.

“I can’t rule out that this move is aimed at cleaning the company before putting it on sale,” said Hintos.

Meanwhile, the trade unions have sent a letter to Prime Minister Robert Fico reporting on the situation, and said that they also may organise a protest.

U.S. Steel Kosice, for its part, points to a slump in steel prices, and claims that the lay-offs are in line with the Labour Code, collective agreement with the unions and the aforementioned memo.