This is not the time to lay off skilled workers and we urge companies to invest in their sites and their workforces to ensure a positive future for the European Steel Sector.
On 11 September, ArcelorMittal Luxembourg announced almost 600 job cuts, citing the impact of COVID-19 and the massive decrease in European demand, including the huge drop in activities in the automotive and construction sectors.
IndustriAll Europe affiliates LCGB and OGBL have reacted strongly against this devastating restructuring plan. They are demanding that all available instruments are considered to avoid layoffs, including early retirement and partial unemployment as well as training and re-training plans. They also call for an investment plan with reliable commitments for the future of the Luxembourg steel industry. A first tripartite steel industry meeting was held on 14 September 2020 in the presence of the Minister of Labour and the Minister of the Economy. IndustriAll Europe stands with its Luxembourg members who will do everything in their power to protect all steel jobs in Luxembourg.
The news of the announced job cuts at ArcelorMittal Luxembourg reach us at a critical moment for the European steel industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the crisis facing a sector that has long been suffering from unfair international competition and global overcapacities. Steel production in Europe has reduced by 40% and orders have been cut by 75%. An estimated 45% of the workforce are subject to temporary layoffs and short time work. There are genuine fears that around 50% of steelmaking capacity could be lost by the end of the pandemic.
But steel is at the heart of European industry and it will play a key role in Europe’s recovery post COVID-19. IndustriAll Europe and its affiliates have therefore developed detailed demands for a sustainable future of European steel and jobs in the industry. In a European action day on 1 October 2020, steel workers and their unions across Europe will put these demands to steel companies, national governments and EU policymakers.
Judith Kirton-Darling, Deputy General Secretary for industriAll Europe said:
‘’This shocking announcement is a real blow to steel workers in Luxembourg. COVID-19 has had a terrible effect on the steel sector, but we are pushing policy makers in Europe to support the steel sector and use the sector to help rebuild the economy and safeguard European jobs."
‘’Our European Steel Action Plan clearly lists our demands for policy makers and companies, the steel sector is vital in meeting the key aims of the European Green Deal and promoting sustainable jobs in Europe. This is not the time to lay off skilled workers and we urge companies to invest in their sites and their workforces to ensure a positive future for the European Steel Sector.
‘’We stand in solidarity with our members in Luxembourg and we will bring all European steel workers together on 1 October for a European Steel Action Day to call for urgent action to safeguard the European steel sector and protect thousands of workers across Europe.’’