The board of ArcelorMittal Galati and the 11 trade unions that held talks on the collective employment contract of the company for 2010 said the negotiations ended and signed unanimously the meeting-minutes.

The documents provides the one-year extension of the collective employment contract in force, which means workers’ pay will remain frozen in 2010 for the second year in a row, citing “the severe damages on the company caused by the global economic crisis, and expects to end financial year 2009 with financial loss. The outlook for 2010 is also not encouraging, as the company predicts negative balance at the end of 2010”.

The pay packages at the steel plant in Galati have been frozen since early 2008, when the board raised workers’ pay by 9.5%.

However, the board of the company and the trade unions have agreed to pay out a 5% bonus to all the 9,300 workers at the plant. The bonus will be 5% of each worker’s annual basic pay.

Trade unions have demanded a 18% increase in pay, which was irrevocably rejected by the employer, citing difficult market conditions.

Workers have also claimed a 25% increase in severance packages, increase of bonuses and other compensations. Despite the long list of demands, the leaders of the trade unions hadn’t expected to receive a negative answer from the board, given the ArcelorMittal Luxembourg case where the company has agreed on a 2.5% pay rise in 2010.