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ArcelorMittal To Keep European Plants Open

World's largest steel maker told trade unions Tuesday that it does not plan to shut down any of its plants in Europe where it employs 115,000 people.

BRUSSELS (AP) -- ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steel maker, told trade unions Tuesday that it does not plan to shut down any of its European plants.

The company and workers' representatives said they signed an agreement Monday that "confirms that all the plants will be restarted and that no compulsory redundancies will take place."

ArcelorMittal employs 115,000 people in Europe. It shuttered plants and temporarily laid off workers in France, Germany and Belgium earlier this year to reduce output by half while steel demand slumped. It is now starting to reopen facilities as steel orders increase.

French and Belgian workers, angered by the company's failure to say whether some plants had a future, attacked the company's Luxembourg headquarters during a shareholders' meeting in May.

In the agreement, ArcelorMittal committed to the upkeep of mothballed plants or tools and promised to put workers on shorter hours or provide training during the economic downturn.

It said it "intends not to resort to compulsory dismissals" and any redundancies would be negotiated with trade unions. The steel maker last week said a voluntary redundancy program had helped it shed some 40,000 workers since the start of the economic crisis.

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