ArcelorMittal South Africa announced that the National Union of Metal workers of South Africa has issued the Company with a strike notice on 9 May 2022, giving notice of its intention to embark on a strike on 11 May 2022, following a breakdown in the 2022 annual wage negotiations with NUMSA. In the union’s strike notice, NUMSA has reverted to its original 15% increase demand. ArcelorMittal South Africa said “It was hoped that this action could be averted but this has not been possible. The Company has also applied for an interdict to prevent certain employees from striking on the basis that they are involved in providing a maintenance service as contemplated in the Labor Relations Act.ArcelorMittal South Africa CEO Mr Kobus Verster said “The Company is concerned that unsustainable increases in base pay will lead to cost pressures which will weaken our competitiveness. Our industry remains very cost sensitive, challenging and volatile. To survive and be sustainable, we need to ensure that our cost base remains competitive so that we can manage through the downturns. Communication channels between the parties remain open in the interest of speedily reaching agreement in the negotiation process. The impact and duration of the strike cannot be predicted but the Company has in place plans to mitigate the impact thereof, and to protect its people and assets, and service its customers insofar as is possible.”NUMSA said that at the heart of the dispute was ArcelorMittal refusal to make a meaningful offer to settle in the deadlocked negotiations. NUMSA said "The bosses have tabled a final offer of only 5% across the board. They are also offering workers 2% of their salaries in cash as a monthly amount. We reject this proposal. What is a 5% increase for the lowest-paid worker who earns approximately R7 000? It is not much at all.”In the most recent engagement on 5 May, which was conciliated by the Centre for Dispute Resolution at the Metals and Engineering Industry Bargaining Council, ArcelorMittal South Africa tabled a significantly improved final offer of 7%, comprising of a 5% increase across the board on all remuneration elements as well as a 2% cash equivalent based on all remuneration elements, to be paid monthly and in acknowledgement of the immediate term cost of living squeeze. The offer is higher in both percentage terms and absolute rand terms than what has been implemented in the steel sector (5.5% average) and elsewhere in the recent past, which is indicative of the substantially higher salary scales at ArcelorMittal South Africa compared to the rest of the industry and other sectors. NUMSA disputes this fact but has to date not presented any factual evidence to the contrary. The Company is of the firm view that its offer is fair and considers both the current economic conditions and the future sustainability of the business.However, according to a latest media report, striking NUMSA workers are expected back at work after the labor court granted an interim order to ArcelorMittal South Africa prohibiting workers from striking for above-inflation wages.