ArcelorMittal halts Bosnia steel output as Zenica plant workers strike

FILE PHOTO: General view of the interior of ArcelorMittal steel factory in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 9, 2016. ArcelorMittal the world's largest steelmaker, has launched plans for a $3 billion share issue to help reduce debt and cut costs. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal MT.AS halted production at its steel mill in the central Bosnian town of Zenica after workers there went on strike in solidarity with colleagues furloughed over the coronavirus crisis, the company and unions said on Tuesday.

The steelmaker employs around 1,400 workers at the plant, union representative Zuhdija Kapetanovic said.

Dijana Bozic Srdanovic, spokeswoman for the plant, said only its coking unit was currently operating.

Steel end-users including automakers shut down operations in March when Bosnia imposed a lockdown in response to the epidemic, which has caused more than 2,300 infections and led to 134 deaths in the country.

The world’s largest steelmaker said in July it planned to slash output and jobs at the Omarska iron ore mines that supply the Zenica plant, but subsequently postponed those plans.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela; editing by John Stonestreet