The European steel industry directly provides 310 thousand jobs

The Association of European Steel Producers (EUROFER) and the European trade union industriAll Europe are calling urgently to protect the steel sector and save jobs in the industry. A joint statement posted on the organization’s website reports about it.

The steel sector is the center of European industry, it provides 310,000 jobs directly in the EU and 2.2 million in related industries. In a triple crisis, social dialogue and support at national and European levels are essential to protect the industry and workers.

Costs and energy are now about seven times higher than before the crisis, the statement notes, and the carbon tax is at €70 per tonne. Therefore, the European steel sector is suffering from huge bills, much larger than in other regions of steel production.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which exacerbated the energy crisis, also led to a massive reduction or cessation of traditional raw materials’ supplies from Russia and Ukraine, such as iron ore. This requires European companies to purchase it from other countries at much higher costs. In addition, workers and citizens are suffering from EU inflation of 10% (as of September 2022).

“The European Social Partners, the European Steel Association and industriAll Europe, call for urgent action to safeguard the European steel sector and protect these high skilled, quality jobs in Europe while also working towards a carbon-lean, environmentally responsible, circular, and internationally competitive European steel sector”, the statement says.

The dual green and digital transition has never been more challenging, and more investment and support will be needed to ensure these transitions are successful and the industry is not affected.

The organizations approached the European social partners with a number of proposals. In particular, it is about encouraging companies to continue to invest in both factories and people. It is also proposed to call on government agencies to rapidly support industrial decarbonization projects and related energy infrastructure, and to develop an appropriate regulatory framework to create leading green steel markets.

In addition, it is about:

  • require an EU fund to support national short-term work schemes through the implementation of SURE 2.0 (European temporary support instrument to reduce risks of unemployment in emergency situations – Ed.);
  • implement short-term emergency solutions that limit gas and electricity costs and prices while ensuring stable energy supplies;
  • support the forward-looking revision of the EU Waste Transport Regulation, noting the importance of scrap steel for decarbonization and the circular economy;
  • require the EU to take measures to ensure fair trade and consider imposing emergency measures on imports given the significant distortion in the price/cost of energy to the detriment of EU steel mills and workers;
  • encourage stakeholders to work together to ensure a just transition to green or digital technologies.

“The European social partners will continue to work with national and European policy makers to ensure the survival of the European steel sector,” the statement concluded.

As GMK Center reported earlier, at the end of September, on the eve of the meeting of EU energy ministers on September 30, EUROFER again called on the EU to take urgent and more effective measures in the conditions of the energy crisis. In particular, the current price of gas, which at that time was about €200 per MWh, creates a difficult situation for energy-intensive industries.