Brussels, November 2015 – The European Steel Association (EUROFER) and industriAll European Trade Union today issued a joint call for action by policy makers to ward off further job losses in the sector.
The call comes as ministers meet today for an extraordinary Competitiveness Council, held in reaction to a slew of announcements from industry of job losses and redundancies. Across Europe – with the UK particularly affected, around 5,000 jobs have been lost in the past month alone. There is a real and present threat to the 330,000 workers in the steel sector, a headcount down 85,000 since 2008.
Speaking on the eve of the Council meeting, Bart Samyn, Deputy Secretary General of industriAll said, “Ministers need to understand that job losses are happening now. These layoffs are the direct consequence of the regulatory burden at EU and member state levels, and in particular due to the dumping of Chinese steel on the EU market.”
Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER, said, “The EU needs to adapt trade, climate and energy policies, in particular the review of the EU Emission Trading Scheme, to keep our sector competitive. Best performers in carbon leakage sectors like steel must not be penalised by additional direct or indirect carbon costs against extra-EU competitors. Our goal is for policy makers to do whatever it takes to keep this innovative, strategic industry in Europe.”
In the face of Chinese exports, which have exploded to 110 million tonnes this year and doubled over the past two years, the EU needs to do more to speed up the deployment of its trade defence instruments, and to safeguard steel industry jobs.
Importantly, industriAll Europe and EUROFER call on member states to pay particular attention to the fact that granting Market Economy Status to China when it does not meet the technical criteria to be considered a market economy would be devastating for a number of manufacturing sectors in the EU as the possibility to impose anti-dumping measures on cheap Chinese imports would then largely disappear.
Mr Eggert and Samyn concluded, “Once these jobs have disappeared, they are gone forever. We hope that the meeting can help to build a consensus around practical, swiftly implementable policies, including full and proper impact assessment, designed to support innovation, lower energy costs, restrain the regulatory burden and – vitally – to ensure that European steel producers face a level playing field in international trade.”
The European Steel Association (EUROFER) represents the European steel industry. The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 330,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 170 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 24 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and employment in Europe.
IndustriAll European Trade Union represents 6.9 million working men and women across supply chains in manufacturing, mining and energy sectors across Europe. IndustriAll Europe aims to protect and advance the rights of these workers.
The federation of trade unions also aims to be a powerful player in the European policy arena vis à vis European companies, European industry, employers’ associations and EU institutions.
Trade unions affiliated to the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF), the European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation (EMCEF) and the European Trade Union Federation for Textiles, Clothing and Leather (ETUF:TCL) joined forces on 16 May 2012 to create the industriAll European Trade Union.