GMB Urges EU Commission To Deliver On Its Report Promising Level Playing Field For Steel
UK Government will try to block attempts to stop Chinese steel dumping after a budget that didn't once mention any support for steel workers says GMB.
GMB, the union for workers in the steel industry, commented on an action plan released yesterday, Wednesday 16 March, by the European Commission to preserve sustainable jobs in the steel industry. (See notes to editors for a press release from the European Commission and previous GMB press releases on the UK steel industry).
The European Commission proposed both long and short term measures including the removal of the lesser duty rule from the steel sector and to accelerate and increase the efficiency of EU trade defence measures.
Dave Hulse, GMB national officer, said “GMB supports the principle of the European Commission Report. The steel industry has been left in a crisis and we welcome any report that calls for a level playing field for GMB and UK steel workers.
Due to record levels of steel dumping, GMB are saying market economy status must not be granted to China.
The UK Government will likely try to block attempts to stop Chinese steel dumping after a budget that didn't once mention any support for steel workers or other vital UK Manufacturing Industries. It demonstrates that this government just does not care about the manufacturing industry.”
Contact: Dave Hulse on 07971 266157 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691
Notes to editors
1 Copy of European Commission press release dated Wednesday, 16 March 2016
Steel industry: Commission takes action to preserve sustainable jobs and growth in Europe
The Commission suggests policy measures to support the European steel sector to overcome its serious challenges, largely due to global overcapacity.
The European Commission has presented today a Communication setting out how the European steel sector can overcome its short-term and long-term challenges with the support of Member States and the EU institutions.
A joint effort is needed to overcome these serious challenges fuelled by global overcapacity, a dramatic increase of exports and an unprecedented wave of unfair trading practices. High energy costs and changing market conditions require energy-intensive industries to adapt and innovate to ensure their long-term competitiveness and sustainability.
Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness,said: "We must do more to help the steel sector and other energy-intensive industries adapt, innovate and compete on the basis of quality, cutting-edge technology, efficient production and a highly skilled workforce. We now have a record level of anti-dumping measures on steel products in place and the Commission is determined to restore a global level playing field. We will take steps to further streamline our procedures but Member States must also act together and urgently adopt our legislative proposal to modernise EU trade defence instruments and make fairer trade a reality."
The Commission is already acting with determination to support the steel industry in overcoming the short-term challenges. With theCommunication "Steel: Preserving sustainable jobs and growth in Europe" the Commission announces new short-term measures that will strengthen the EU’s defence against unfair trade practices, as well as longer-term action to guarantee the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of energy-intensive industries like steel:
· Defence against unfair trade practices: The Commission is already imposing a record number of measures to offset the detrimental effect of dumping, with 37 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures in place on steel products (16 of which on steel imports from China). The Commission will further accelerate the adoption of anti-dumping measures and stands ready to make additional proposals to speed up the overall procedure and improve the efficiency of the current system. It is high time to back up rhetoric with action: a swift adoption by the co-legislators of the Commission proposal from 2013 to modernise trade defence instruments is crucial to streamline procedures and increase their speed and effectiveness. Notably the removal of the so-called lesser duty rule in certain circumstances would allow imposing higher anti-dumping duties. The Commission will also propose a prior surveillance system on steel products. Prior surveillance measures are part of the EU's existing safeguard instrument and can be introduced when import trends threaten to cause injury to European Union producers.
· Tackling the causes of global overcapacity: In addition to measures aiming to address global overcapacity, the Commission is tackling the underlying causes of the problem at bilateral and multilateral level. This is being done with the EU's main partners (China, Japan, India, Russia, Turkey and the United States) as well as in relevant international fora such as the OECD and the WTO. Just last week, bilateral meetings were held with China and Japan. The Commission will further reinforce this international work, in particular in the context of the G20.
· Investing in future solutions and technologies for a more competitive industry: The long-term competitiveness of energy-intensive industries depends on their ability to develop breakthrough technologies in areas such as energy efficiency or carbon capture and utilisation. This requires more private and public investment in innovation, research and new technologies. At EU level, various funds are available to support the steel industry on its modernisation path. These funds include the €315 billion European Fund for Strategic Investments (which has already supported the modernisation of a steel factory), EU Structural and Investment Funds and the EU research funding programme Horizon 2020. Today's Communication lists the various options clearly. Industry should make full use of these possibilities.
· Modernising the steel industry by investing in people: Maintaining a modern and competitive steel industry requires a skilled and well-trained work force. With the forthcoming New Skills agenda, the Commission will aim to build a shared commitment to invest in people and their skills in close cooperation with Member States and social partners. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the European Social Fund are available to support workers and their local communities, mitigating adverse social consequences in the context of relocation.
· Focused policies in areas like competition, energy, emissions trading and the circular economy will help the steel industry to thrive: Ourrevised state aid rules provide ample opportunities for Member States to support cross-border technology, research and innovation and renewable energy schemes. The proposed revision of the emission trading system, currently being discussed by the co-legislators, should be helpful for the steel sector and ensure that it gets an appropriate level of support in the context of the emissions allowance distribution. Commission policy in the areas of climate change and the circular economy are also relevant in this context.
The steel industry in Europe is world-leading in certain steel product segments, represents 1.3% of EU GDP and provided around 328,000 jobs in 2015. The steel industry is also an important source of indirect employment, since it plays a significant role for many other industrial sectors such as the automotive industry. Despite the potential of the European steel sector and the significant efforts made to innovate and modernise, its competitive position on the global steel market has deteriorated in recent years. Excess production of steel in third countries such as China has increased exports, depressed prices, and given rise to an unprecedented wave of unfair trading practices, distorting the global level playing field.
The current challenges for the steel industry are serious, but they can be overcome if all players work together in a spirit of sincere cooperation. The Commission will continue to monitor the situation closely and stands ready to put forward additional measures, as necessary. There is no time to lose to preserve sustainable jobs and growth in Europe.
2 copy of GMB press release dated Tuesday, March 1, 2016
GMB To Attend The First Meeting Of The Steel Council On Wednesday 2 March 2016
We have gone from crisis to crisis and fear for the long term future of the UK Steel Industry says GMB.
GMB will attend the first meeting of the Steel Council with government ministers, UK Steel and other representatives and trade unions to stand up for the future of the UK steel industry. The meeting will look at how to address long-term issues for the steel sector and propose steps to protect the industry.
This meeting comes on the back of 2,200 redundancies from the SSI owned Redcar steelworks, 1,200 Tata redundancies in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire and over 700 In Port Talbot. Other proposed redundancies in Rotherham, Stocksbridge, Wednesbury, Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool have led to over 5,000 jobs lost over the past few months which has devastated communities throughout the UK.
The steel industry is vital to the UK, directly employing almost 18,000 people in production and contributing around £9.5bn to the economy.
Dave Hulse GMB National Officer said “We are looking for real progress being made with the formulation of this new group. Since the Steel Summit on the 16th October 2015 things have been moving at a very slow pace.
We have gone from crisis to crisis and really need to see action now otherwise GMB fears for the long term future of the steel industry.”
3 Copy of GMB press release dated 29th January 2016
GMB OUTRAGE OVER EU COMMISSION IMPOSING LOW DUTIES ON DUMPED CHINESE STEEL AS TOOTHLESS ACTION WILL DO NOTHING TO SAVE JOBS
Members to join protest in Brussels on 15th February outside the next EU talking shop over intolerable failure of EU to take action says GMB
GMB, the union for steel workers, commented on the decision by the EU to impose a duty of between 9.2% and 13% on dumped Chinese reinforcement steel bar (rebar) after considering the matter for nearly a year.
Dave Hulse, GMB National Officer, said “The Commission’s own investigations of Chinese exports show a dumping margin of more than 60% on reinforcement steel bar used in the construction industry.
So the EU decision to impose a duty between 9.2% and 13% on dumped Chinese rebar demonstrates that Brussels is either sleep walking or deliberately allowing the destruction of the UK steel industry.
We need Prime Minister Cameron to get off the fence and forcefully tell Brussels that this toothless action will do nothing whatsoever to assist the UK steel industry.
The EU Commission is now directly responsible for bringing more misery to the industry that has been rocked with job losses and communities that are being destroyed.
This once again demonstrates that market economy status should not be granted to the Chinese But we all know Cameron has different views on that. If action is not taken to increase the duties then it leaves the whole of the industry at risk.
This failure by EU politicians to act to stop to stop the dumping of Chinese steel from a country that is not a market economy is intolerable. This why GMB is joining a protest in Brussels on 15th February outside the next EU talking shop to demand action not endless meetings. See notes to editors for copy previous GMB release on this.”
Kathleen Walker Shaw, GMB European Officer, said “Last November the EU Commission and the EU Council admitted that the hundreds of thousands of jobs in the EU steel sector are under serious threat from wholesale dumping of Chinese steel.
Worker and their communities expect the EU Commission to get it’s act together and take decisive action and quickly. Tinkering around the edges with low level duties is derisory and will do nothing to stem the flood. Duties have to be set at dissuasive levels to protect jobs.
The UK Government bears a lot of responsibility for this failure of the EU to act by placing a higher priority on not upsetting the Chinese Government than on protecting UK steel jobs. GMB members find this toothless action outrageous.”