Our joint statement with industriALL Global is clear: tackle global overcapacity, respect workers’ health and safety and ensure that trade discussions focus on the most important thing - jobs!
IndustriAll European Trade Union and industriAll Global Union, under the banner of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD, participated in last week's OECD steel committee meeting. The three-day meeting focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the global steel market, state enterprises and global overcapacity in the steel sector.
Global overcapacity continues to push down steel prices in Europe and trade unions have long called for tough action to stop cheap steel being dumped on the European market. IndustriAll Europe was therefore alarmed to learn that overcapacity could even increase by 1.7% by the end of 2020. This would be disastrous for Europe at at time when COVID-19 has already seen production and demand plummet.
In discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the steel sector, trade unions stressed to international governments that occupational safety and health (OSH) measures for workers must be respected and that no worker should be forced to work in an unsafe environment.
Finally, trade unions underlined the worrying developments in steel employment. They stressed that when addressing international trade and global overcapacity, the OECD must also consider specific impacts on employment.
Judith Kirton-Darling, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll Europe, said:
‘’Steel workers must be part of any international discussions on steel. Our joint statement with industriALL Global is clear: tackle global overcapacity, respect workers’ health and safety and ensure that trade discussions focus on the most important thing - jobs!"
‘’Global overcapacity continues to grow, and we call on the OECD Steel Committee and the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity to increase their commitment to tackle unfair international trade and state intervention. There is no overcapacity in Europe and European steel workers cannot continue to suffer, we demand a level playing field and the protection of existing jobs.’’
This week, industriAll Europe will raise key concerns of European steel workers in a European steel action day on 1 October. Steel workers will organise manifestations, worker assemblies, press events and meetings with government representatives to highlight the demands in industriAll Europe’s steel action plan.
Judith Kirton-Darling added:
‘’We insist that the concerns of steel workers are heard whether at local plant level or at international level. IndustriAll Europe will use all available opportunities to raise the concerns of steel workers and the discussions do not end here. Following the OECD and Global Forum meetings this week we will continue to demand fair international trade on 1 October as part of our European Steel Action Day.’’