We are facing a major risk of de-localisation and de-industrialisation if there are no short-term measures implemented for energy prices and raw materials. Although companies are trying to diversify their input of energy and raw materials, they are unable to change fast enough as the infrastructure and technology available limit their options
Like in many sectors, the current energy price increase is strongly felt. Even if the situation differs from one country to another, participants reported that production is being heavily reduced or has completely stopped in the glass, ceramics, cement and paper industries, taking its toll on employment in manufacturing across the continent.
One example of this is glass for information technologies, that is no longer being produced in Belgium but rather in the USA or South Africa. A similar example is the demand for sanitary tiles in Italy, which can no longer be met as Italian ceramics companies have stopped production due to the cost increases.
Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll Europe, commented:
“We are facing a major risk of de-localisation and de-industrialisation if there are no short-term measures implemented for energy prices and raw materials. Although companies are trying to diversify their input of energy and raw materials, they are unable to change fast enough as the infrastructure and technology available limit their options.”
The uncertainty of the situation is worrying for thousands of workers who are or may be faced with job losses, as closures may become permanent, creating difficult conditions for collective bargaining. The impact is not only felt by workers but by the whole population as poverty levels increase.
During the meeting, industriAll Europe’s member organisations addressed their concerns to Vincent Basuyau (Energy-Intensive Industries and Raw Materials, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises), who shared the European Commission’s assessment of the situation. He stressed that a modernised physical and digital infrastructure is urgently needed.
IndustriAll Europe’s member organisations are witnessing an acceleration of imports from third countries. At the same time, the basic materials industries struggle with an aging workforce. This poses a challenge for the development of new products and business models.
Trade unions jointly call on Member States for effective crisis response measures and an instrument like SURE to support short-time work schemes and similar measures. Despite the focus on short-term relief, all participants expressed the need to not lose sight of climate neutrality targets and a Just Transition.