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Major strike at Arcelor Mittal firm

Some 3,600 steel workers begin a strike at a Romania plant to demand higher wages, says a trade union leader.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2008 20:40 IST

Guards used tear gas on Monday on hundreds of striking workers who were trying to storm a factory owned by the Arcelor Mittal Galati steel company in eastern Romania. Some 3,600 steel workers have begun a strike at the plant to demand higher wages, said trade union leader Gheorghe Tiber in a statement.

The company is offering a monthly increase of 100 lei (US$44; euro28) for those earning the lowest salaries, and a percentage increase for those on higher salaries. The union wants each worker to have a monthly increase of at least 280 lei (US$123; euro78). Earlier Monday, about 800 striking steel workers threw water, bread and stones in the factory yard before trying to storm the building. They were repelled by guards.

"The all-out strike is legal. We are expecting more employees to join the protest," Tiber told state news agency Rompres. The plant employs some 13,700 workers.

Arcelor Mittal Galati is part of ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steelmaker. It bought the plant from the Romanian state in 2001.