Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal has said that the strike at its El-Hadjar steel facility in Algeria is over and the workers have now returned to work.

“Operations have now restarted at the plant and the workers have returned to work,” a spokesman tells MEED. “I can’t say exactly how it was resolved, but we obtained an injunction and when there was no immediate resumption to operations, ArcelorMittal sued the secretary general of the plant’s union and following a vote by the workers, they decided in favour of returning to work.”

Workers at the facility had gone on strike regarding a collective pay convention that is in place at similar facilities in Algeria. Most of the 7,200 workforce had walked out, but 5 per cent had remained to maintain the facility’s furnaces, which could be permanently damaged if switched off.

ArcelorMittal will now start talks with union representatives over the next few months regarding many issues at the plant including wages.

The El-Hadjar plant is located at Annaba in eastern Algeria and produced about 750,000 tonnes of steel in 2009. A spokesman at ArcelorMittal confirmed that figure is much lower than the plant’s actual capacity, but declined to state the capacity.