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ArcelorMittal resumes output at Bosnia steel plant

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal MT.AS resumed output at its Bosnia steel plant on Thursday after a 10-day stoppage due to a drop in demand caused by the coronavirus crisis, its spokesperson told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: General view of the interior of ArcelorMittal steel factory in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Steel end-users, including automakers, shut operations in March when Bosnia imposed a lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected 2,462 people in the country and led to 153 deaths.

The ArcelorMittal plant in the central town of Zenica had said that since the beginning of the outbreak management had taken measures to trim costs, procure protection equipment and renegotiate gas and power prices with suppliers.

“As of today we are operating at full capacity,” Dijana Bozic-Srdanovic told Reuters.

The plant had earlier said it had proposed a wage cut of between 10% and 20% for managerial positions, which account for 25% of the workforce, but the company’s unions rejected the proposal.

Bozic-Srdanovic said more information would be available in the course of the day.

Operations at the Omarska iron ore mines in northwestern Bosnia remain shut due to the crisis, spokesman Predrag Sorga told Reuters.

ArcelorMittal steelmaker employs around 1,400 workers in Zenica and 800 at Omarska.

The world’s largest steelmaker said last July it planned to cut output and jobs at Omarska but has postponed those plans.

Bosnia’s metals industry, which accounts for around a third of its exports, recorded a 18.3% fall in exports in the January-April period as demand from European Union markets fell due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela. Editing by Jane Merriman

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