Arcelor Mittal has stated that “there is no take for granted” a closure of its plant in Zumarraga (Gipuzkoa) and has assured that “everything possible” has been done to maintain activity in the factory, where annual investments have been made from 3.5 million euros and plans to improve competitiveness, as reported by the company.
The group announced on Tuesday a partial layoff at the Zumarraga plant and its intention to relocate the workers, a measure that was transferred to the lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, in a meeting held last Monday.
This decision follows the one adopted by the ACB of Sestao, also belonging to Arcelor Mittal, which is in a situation of indefinite temporary stoppage. In principle, the company does not contemplate, at this time, adopting measures in the rest of its plants in the Basque Country.
In relation to the situation in Zumarraga, the company has indicated that “it should not be taken for granted” that a closure is going to take place, and has indicated that the activity to be ceased and transferred must be “discussed” with the negotiating commission of the works council.
For this reason, he has assured that now “it is not in a position” to be able to talk about what activity is going to be maintained until this issue is addressed with the workers’ representatives.
Specifically, a consultation period has been opened and the workers ‘representatives have to designate, within seven days, the negotiating committee to be able to reach an agreement in relation to the workers’ relocations.
The partial cessation of activity implies an ERE that has not yet begun to be applied, since production in Zumarraga will continue for a few days until the pending orders are dispatched. The company has indicated that, depending on the relocations and the agreement that may be adopted with the unions, the activity that is transferred and the one that would remain in the Gipuzkoan plant would be specified.
The company has stated that they maintain a “permanent dialogue” with the institutions and are “at their disposal.”
In this context, the works council has called a demonstration “in rejection of the measure adopted by the multinational Arcelor Mittal”, to which it has invited “all the people of Urretxu and Zumarraga” to participate.
The march will take place on Saturday 19th, and will depart at noon from Plaza Areizaga.
EH Bildu calls for an industrial emergency plan
The spokesperson for EH Bildu and former mayor of Urretxu, Oihane Zabaleta, has warned that it is up to the institutions, the Basque Government, the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and the Zumarraga City Council to take all the necessary measures to solve the situation of all those affected people.
Zabaleta has stressed that the almost certain closure of Arcelor de Zumarraga is not accidental or punctual, and has recalled the cases of ACB of Sestao and Tubos Reunidos de Amurrio. “They are dismantling the industry of this country,” he warned.
In this sense, the nationalist coalition has considered that an industrial emergency plan is “urgently needed” to save all those companies that are in a situation similar to that of Arcelor Zumarraga.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.