EU says ArcelorMittal CEO agrees to suspend European job cuts, plant closures through June

BRUSSELS – The European Union’s executive arm says the boss of steel maker ArcelorMittal has promised to suspend planned job cuts and plant closures in Europe through June.

The EU Commission said Wednesday that CEO Lakshmi Mittal agreed after talks with Industrial Commissioner Antonio Tajani late Tuesday to suspend all restructuring programs until the body publishes its plan to help Europe’s steel industry this summer.

ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s largest steel company, is blaming a slump in demand and structural overcapacity in Europe for its recent decisions to cut jobs and close blast furnaces across the 27-nation bloc. Plans to shrink or cease operating its plants in the northern French town of Florange and Belgium’s Liege were met with protests and harsh rebukes from the country’s leaders.