IndustriAll Europe and member unions active in the steel sector went to the European Parliament on 14 February to present the real situation of steel workers in Europe and to call for urgent action to ensure that the sector's green transition is a success story. Faced with high energy prices, a collapse in orders and the mothballing of several steel plants, the unions stressed the urgency of implementing a steel action plan to protect thousands of jobs in Europe and the strategic autonomy of the EU.

IndustriAll Europe took the floor to set out its three demands on behalf of European steel workers:

  1. an urgent European industrial and investment strategy
  2. socially responsible behaviour by steel companies
  3. strengthening of social dialogue at all levels

These demands will be reiterated at the forthcoming high-level EU crisis meeting on the future of European steel production, announced by Executive Vice President Vestager following a meeting with IndustriAll Europe. IndustriAll Europe has long been calling for a real Steel Action Plan to keep sustainable steel production with quality jobs in Europe. But unfortunately, the EU has so far failed to act.

Judith Kirton-Darling, General Secretary of industriAll Europe, warned:

"The decarbonisation of the steel sector must be a success story for Europe, because if it isn't, the backlash will cost us dearly. It will lead to deindustrialisation. The longer we delay, the higher the cost of inaction. We need a European industrial and investment strategy for the steel sector now, steel workers are not prepared to wait any longer!"

The European debate, chaired by MEP Joachim Schuster, was part of a joint event organised by industriAll Europe and EUROFER, attended by 70 representatives including MEPs, the European Commission and a delegation from the steel industry and industriAll Europe. Speakers raised issues ranging from access to affordable clean energy to unfair competition and ensuring a Just Transition for workers, with a clear understanding that the sector cannot continue as business as usual.

Judith Kirton-Darling added:

"We are in the eye of the storm and we are sounding the alarm for real action to keep the steel industry and quality, well-paid jobs for thousands of workers in Europe. Trade unions support the decarbonisation of the steel industry, but it must be done in a socially responsible way. This means support from policymakers and genuine social dialogue with employers, with full respect for information and consultation rights. Trade unions are part of the solution and we are here to ensure a Just Transition for steel workers across Europe."