We cannot allow that Europe becomes dependent on steel imports. Europe needs steel to ensure economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and to deliver on its long-term environmental ambitions. Protect the future of steel in Europe and protect the jobs of steel workers across Europe!
Today, industriAll European Trade Union is launching its demands for a NEW European Steel Action Plan.
Steel is at the heart of European industry and it will play a key role in Europe’s recovery post COVID-19. Furthermore, steel is crucial for achieving various EU policy goals, such as the European Green Deal. However, the steel sector in Europe has been under increasing pressure due to unfair trade and global overcapacity and the recent COVID-19 pandemic has further worsened an already struggling sector. We are therefore calling for immediate European action to support the European steel sector!
From today, industriAll Europe will engage in a continuous campaign at national and European level to put our detailed demands for a sustainable future of the European steel industry to EU policy makers, national governments, and companies. Our key demands include the need to invest in European steel plants and the decarbonisation of the sector, ensuring fair international trade and implementing fair trade defence measures as well as ending global overcapacity. Crucially, the recovery of the European steel industry will depend on its workforce. Investment in upskilling and reskilling of workers, ensuring the highest health and safety standards, guaranteeing good working conditions and rights for all workers, including temporary workers and subcontractors, will therefore be paramount.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the European steel sector. Steel production in Europe has reduced by 40% for the second quarter and new orders have been cut by 70-75%. It is estimated that at least 45% of the workforce are subjected to temporary layoffs and short time working. We have genuine concerns for the future of the sector post COVID-19 as around 50% of steelmaking capacity could be lost by the end of this pandemic!
The situation of the European steel sector is particularly vulnerable. Its main competitor China managed to increase its production by 1,3% in the first quarter of 2020. There are real concerns that some countries will use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to build up capacities, increase their stockpiles and flood the European market with cheap steel. This must be avoided.
Luis Colunga, industriAll Europe’s Deputy General Secretary comments:
“We cannot allow that Europe becomes dependent on steel imports because steel is and will remain an essential material. Europe needs steel to ensure economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and to deliver on its long-term environmental ambitions. We need steel for the transformation of our transport system, the modernisation of energy networks, the deployment of renewable energies and for the refurbishment of buildings to become more energy efficient. As an almost fully recyclable material steel will play a key role in realising a circular economy.”
“However, steel needs European support now. We must ensure that the sector can innovate towards a low-carbon future. We therefore call on European policy makers, on national governments and steel companies to take urgent action now to protect the future of steel in Europe and to protect the jobs of steel workers across Europe.”
Read industriAll Europe's Steel Action Plan EN, DE, FR
Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley press and communication, Elspeth Hathaway adviser for steel policy