1 October, 2020On 1 October, steel workers and their unions from across Europe are coming together to demand urgent action to safeguard the sector and its workers. Steel workers across Europe call on EU policy makers, national governments, and steel companies to safeguard the sector and protect jobs.
The European steel sector has suffered from the overcapacity in the global market for a number of years, and as in other countries, there are concerns about the future of the industry. The Covid-19 crisis has deepened the crisis: steel production in Europe has reduced by 40 per cent, and new orders have been cut by up to 70 per cent.
This has had a devastating impact on workers, with at least 45 per cent facing temporary lay-offs and reduced hours, and many others facing an uncertain future. In contrast, during this period China has increased its production of subsidized steel.
Many steel plants in Europe have been idled, and as the costs of shutting down a blast furnace are great, workers are extremely concerned that furnaces will not be restarted, leading to temporary layoffs becoming permanent redundancies.
European steel unions argue that steel is vital for the post-Covid recovery. Steel workers and their unions will take action across Europe today:
- For sustainable steel jobs in the European steel industry
- Against unfair trade
- For fair international competition
- For stimulus packages to kick-start industrial production
- For greener steel, made in Europe
- For a new European steel action plan that guarantees a sustainable future for European steel and its workers.
IndustriALL Global Union’s European sister organization industriAll Europe has developed an action plan with demands which are crucial for the sustainable future of the European steel industry. The action day will highlight the demands of the European Steel Action Plan as steel workers call on political and industrial leaders to safeguard jobs, to act against unfair trade and to create a pathway towards green steel, made in Europe.
Actions on 1 October will include demonstrations at steel production sites, worker assemblies, works council conferences, press activities, social media campaigns, meetings with government representatives, parliamentarians and steel sector employers. IndustriAll Europe will meet representatives of the German EU Presidency to present its steel action plan.
IndustriALL base metals director, Matthias Hartwich, said:
“The steel industry globally has been suffering from the Covid crisis, from a globally sluggish market and from an over-supply, partly caused by subsidized steel from China. We stand in firm solidarity with you, brothers and sisters, to protect the steel industry, in Europe and worldwide. Today it is the turn of our European colleagues to fight back against the decline of the steel industry.”