They demand the European Commission to create a crisis working group on GFG Alliance/Liberty
IndustriAll Europe and IndustriAll Global, the trade unions representing workers in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors in Europe and around the world, have called for an end to the «irresponsible management» of British Liberty Steel and its parent company GFG Alliance. This is stated in the message IndustriAll
After the online meeting, they emphasized that the group’s assets in Europe are experiencing the worst crisis. In addition, European steelmaking facilities may be severely damaged, and the problem of green steel production will remain unresolved.
«As several blast furnaces are idle, production capacity is at an extremely low level – at some plants it is less than 1%,» the statement said.
The trade unions also noted that more than 20,000 steelworkers in the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Hungary are either at home without work or waiting for further action.
Organizations representing steelworkers consider the situation at Liberty Ostrava in the Czech Republic to be catastrophic. According to them, in addition to the 6,000 workers who are waiting to hear whether and when production will resume, 30,000 indirect jobs and 117 subcontractors are at risk.
The unions called on GFG to ensure full transparency of its consolidated finances. They also demanded that the European Commission set up a crisis working group on GFG Alliance/Liberty Steel. At the same time, national governments should put forward social conditions and commitments to implement industrial plans when providing state funding to Sanjeev Gupta’s alliance.
At the same time, according to the Financial Times, GFG said that the statement of the trade unions was false and misleading.
«Like all European steelmakers, Liberty’s operations have been affected by high energy prices, high inflation and high imports, which have resulted in more than 20% of primary steel production on the continent being suspended,» the company said.
The group also said that it has a «robust restructuring plan» for Liberty Ostrava that shows an «achievable path to return to profitability and repayment of debt to creditors.»
GFG also added that despite these market challenges, Liberty continued to ensure that its employees were paid on time and that the plants were safely maintained, even if they were not fully operational.
As GMK Center reported earlier, at the end of January, the Czech government reminded of the legal consequences of the situation with Liberty Ostrava. The Minister of Industry and Trade urged Liberty Steel to save the steel mill. The official also warned of possible legal consequences for breaching the company’s management responsibilities, including financial liability in the event of bankruptcy.