The Compact Steelworks of Bizkaia (ACB) of Sestao, from the ArcelorMittal group, will turn off from today its furnaces and it will stop the machines; and it will sine die, that is, with no scheduled date for the return to activity.
The management had already announced at the end of October the temporary closure of the company. He alleged firstly that the stoppage was due to energy prices and later, he claimed to have to carry out “a series of engineering works.” The works council, however, was convinced that the stoppage was due to the rejection union to “organizational modifications” raised by the company.
Representatives of UGT, CC. OO., LAB and ELA, members of the committee, already expressed their “total rejection” of the causes alleged by the company to justify the shutdown of the installation, which lead to “the dismissal of more than 100 temporary workers “.
The unions denounce “the helplessness and restlessness that a stop of these characteristics exerts on the workers”, and accuse the management of the ACB of “blackmail the social part, putting as a condition to resume production in Sestao, the acceptance of the organizational changes proposed unilaterally, as well as the revision of some points of the Agreement that cover the intended organizational changes “.
In case of not accepting this proposal, as they have indicated, the management “threatens to continue with the layoffs, to block the departure of pre-retirement workers and not to ensure the start-up of the Plant in January.”
According to the works council, “although the current energy situation has had a direct impact on the transformation costs that weigh down the competitiveness of our products, the Company’s Management decides to stop production at Sestao, despite currently presenting considerable margins on your profits, once again unloading on their workers and the public coffers their interests games. In addition, in order to increase profits, given the strong demand for steel, the multinational has started the diversion of production to other production centers, where the impact of energy costs is less. “
“Improvement works” according to ArcelorMittal
For its part, and following the complaint made by the committee, the address ArcelorMittal Sestao reported that the shutdown is due to “a series of planned engineering works”, which are part of “an improvement plan” that will allow the plant’s annual production capacity to be increased to 1.6 million tons in 2023, as well as reducing the level of CO2 emissions to 500 kg per ton of steel produced.
According to the company, these changes will prepare “the plant to produce steel with the XCarb * recycled and renewably produced label (produced from recycled steel using 100% renewable energy in an electric arc furnace) from the second quarter of 2022, to respond to the growing demand from customers “.
As reported last month by sources from the multinational to Europa Press, the work would be brought forward a month, “due in part to today’s high electricity prices.”
On the other hand, ArcelorMittal Sestao indicated that it will continue with the social dialogue with the unions, in order to reach “an agreement that lays the foundations for the future of ArcelorMittal Sestao as a world leader in decarbonisation.”