The address of Arcelor Mittal announced this Thursday that the Compact Steelworks of Bizkaia (ACB) of Sestao will suffer a “indefinite temporary stop”, as of next February, due to the “bad situation” of the steel market.
According to Europa Press, citing those responsible for Arcelor Mittal, it is an “indefinite temporary stoppage”, whichaffect the 335 workers from the Sestao plant.
Arcelor Mittal has a temporary suspension ERE in force for all its plants in the Spanish State, which is renewed every year until December 31, and what has been agreed this Thursday is an “indefinite temporary shutdown of the plant because the steel market across Europe is very bad “.
As reported by the company, market conditions are “very adverse, mainly due to massive imports of steel from China at prices well below production costs.” In that sense, they have indicated that, “right now, China is putting coils in Europe at a cost 30% cheaper than what is sold here “.
The 335 workers at the Sestao steel mill will take advantage of the employment regulation file, and will be “suspended from employment and salary”, but the company, due to the agreement it has with the unions, “complements them up to 90% of their salary.” .
Regarding the duration of the stoppage, Arcelor Mittal has recognized that “working conditions have been very persistent for months and there is no visibility that this can change in the short term, and, therefore, the indefinite temporary stop is agreed “.
In that sense, they have pointed out that during the month of December “it always stopped a few days due to lack of portfolio”, and they recalled that “the last stop that the long plant had was in December 2011 and lasted six months, months until June 2012 “.
In addition to the “bad situation” of the steel market, it is added that “the competitive position of the plant itself is already complicated”, since Sestao’s is an electric steelworks and is “much more penalized by the cost of electricity , so its competitive position is more complicated. “
ELA requires Arcelor to guarantee employment at the Sestao plant
The ELA union today demanded that Arcelor Mittal present an industrial project that guarantees the maintenance of jobs at the Sestao factory, following the company’s decision to shut down the plant indefinitely due to the adverse situation in the steel market .
In a statement, ELA explained that Arcelor has notified workers’ representatives at the Sestao plant today of the indefinite stoppage of production at this center.
For ELA, it is a “very serious” decision that “puts more than 500 jobs at risk, between direct and regular subcontractors of the center “.
He assured that Arcelor informed the unions in November that for the first half of 2016 the Sestao plant had 350,000 tons of workload, although the company today announced that this production “It will be derived to the centers of Asturias and Fos in France”.
“We are faced with a strategic decision of a multinational that it only seeks to defend its own interests without taking into account the social repercussion of its decisions, “he denounces.
He added that, “unfortunately”, the stoppage of the Sestao plant “It is not a surprise for ELA”, since “since BBK and the Basque Government formalized their departure from the former ACB in 2011, Arcelor committed with both institutions to maintain the activity until 2016.”
ELA has highlighted that the cessation of activity in the Sestao steelworks is “very bad news” not only for the workers but also for the region where it is located -Margen Izquierda-, “very hard hit in this crisis, with one of the highest levels high unemployment “in the Basque Country.
CCOO will request a meeting with Arcelor Mittal
For its part, CCOO Euskadi will request a meeting with the management of Arcelor Mittal to clarify the terms of the temporary stop, as reported by the general secretary of the union’s Federation of Industry, Javier Gómez.
Gómez explained that they have learned about this decision this Thursday, so the information they have is scarce. “We will request a meeting with the management to explain what the shutdown means, how long it will last and in what way, to have first-hand data,” he indicated.
The Provincial Council asks for an urgent meeting
The Provincial Council of Bizkaia It was today “extremely concerned” about the situation of the workers affected by Arcelo Mittal’s decision to shut down its Sestao plant indefinitely and has requested an urgent meeting with the company’s management.
Sources of the provincial institution have indicated that the Provincial Council has contacted the management of Arcelor Mittal to arrange that meeting and to know exactly the measures announced by the company and the situation in which the workers will be left.
From the Basque government, for their part, they recalled that this problem suffered by the steel sector has “already a global character.”
In this framework, the Department of Economic Development and Competitiveness is analyzing possible “responses” that, from the Executive level, could be promoted to this problem.
On the other hand, the Sestao City Council says that this is “bad news” for the municipality, although they have indicated that “we must know more details” of Arcelor Mittal’s decision for the Sestao plant.
The plants of the Basque Country
Arcelor Mittal is a company widely established in the Basque Country, with flat product plants in Etxebarri, Sestao and Lesaka; and long products in Bergara, Zumarraga and Olaberria.
In addition, it has distribution centers in Salvatierra / Agurain, Hernani, Lesaka, Legasa and Berrioplano.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.