Today, steel workers and their trade unions across Europe took part in a European day of action to call on EU policy makers, national governments, and steel companies to act now to safeguard the European steel sector and protect thousands of jobs.

There are currently over 300,000 steel workers in the EU, but the future of the sector is unknown with several sites temporarily closed and tens of thousands of workers on temporary unemployment. There are huge concerns about the future of the steel sector in Europe, with fears that up to half of Europe’s production capacity could be lost.

Steel workers from across Europe mobilised to call for action to support the steel sector, a strategic sector which is essential for both the green transition and the EU’s strategic autonomy. From Dutch steel workers turning their blast furnaces literally green with smoke machines and drones, to poignant photos of mothballed and dismantled sites in Hungary and France, steel workers called on their companies and national governments to act.

The European Steel Action Day has been organised ahead of tomorrow’s high-level EU summit; a meeting demanded by industriAll Europe especially in light of the grim situation at GFG Alliance/Liberty Steel. The summit, co-hosted by Executive Vice Presidents Vestager and Šefčovič, will bring together Member States, steel CEOs, steel researchers and industriAll Europe to discuss the challenges facing the sector including its green transition.

Judith Kirton-Darling, industriAll Europe’s General Secretary, said:

‘’We are in the eye of the storm and steel workers in Europe demand action now! The sector is in crisis with production down 30 million tonnes over the past year leaving thousands of workers in temporary unemployment. There is no time to lose, and steelworkers need answers now on their futures, we need companies to stand by their workers and their communities. ’’

While steel workers in Europe are facing the fight of their lives, the same situation is not seen in other regions of the world. In fact, steel capacity has increased in China (2.2%) and India (7.5%) and global overcapacity peaked at the end of last year to approximately 2 500 mmt. While the EU is moving towards green steel production, the OECD has found that over half of new steel making capacities in the future involve building new blast furnaces aimed to produce large amount of lost cost steel.

Jude Kirton-Darling added:

‘’Today’s message from European steel workers is clear. We will not sit by and watch our industry die while cheap and dirty steel is imported from elsewhere! Decarbonisation does not have to mean deindustrialisation, and we need policy makers and steel companies to put their money where their mouth is. Invest in your sites and your workers! Steel needs Europe, and Europe needs steel!’’

Steel Action Day Flyer

Steel Action Day Photos