The president of the works council of the Arcelor Mittal plant in Sestao (Bizkaia) -the ACB-, Juan Carlos Diaz, has demanded today to meet with the Basque Government and with the company management to discuss the situation of a factory that, in his opinion, “has a future”.
About 200 ACB workers have gathered today in front of the headquarters of the Basque Government in Bilbao in defense of factory jobs. They carried a banner with the motto “For the maintenance of employment”, and they have cut traffic on Gran Vía for a few minutes.
With the furnaces stopped, the steel mill continues to carry out maintenance work, loading the already manufactured coils onto the trucks and pickling – the last production line – for a few days.
Today Monday, in the plant more than 80% of the workers are already unemployed, and when the pickling is finished the factory will be completely stop.
In the concentration, the president of the committee has demanded a meeting with the Basque Government to discuss the future of the steelworks, which, he recalled, works by means of electrical energy, “so it emits very little CO2 into the atmosphere.”
The Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, has defended that the solution to cases like the ACB cannot depend only on the injection of public money, and has opted for “Have funds participated with the private initiative that understand which are the strategic sectors of the country”.
Meeting with Tapia
The Basque Minister for Economic Development and Competitiveness, Arantxa Tapia, will meet this afternoon in Bilbao with companies and unions in the steel sector to analyze the situation that the sector is going through due to competition from Chinese steel, an appointment which, according to Díaz the committee has not been invited.
The Union ELA will not attend the meeting either. In a statement, ELA explained that the summoned companies “have no commitment whatsoever to this country, neither with its industry, nor with those who work in it”, and has warned that the appointment “is intended to generate a favorable breeding ground to carry out a significant cut in the workforce in the sector. “
The union has detailed that among the firms called are Arcelor, Gerdau and Nervacero.
Díaz has also requested a meeting with the company’s management. Management sources assured that they were going to meet this Wednesday with the committee, but the president of the committee has specified today that he does not have no call.
Two trips to Brussels
In addition to these appointments, this Tuesday the workers will celebrate a general Assembly, where the measures to be taken will be determined. Among them will be two trips to Brussels to support anti-dumping measures against Chinese steel.
On the other hand, Ivan calvo, representative of the more than 250 contract workers affected by the stoppage, explained in the same act that they have “the uncertainty of knowing what will happen to us. Arcelor has not told us anything”.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.