GMB To Join Protest In Brussels On 15th Feb To Coincide With Eu Conference On On-Going Problems In Steel Industry
We need action at EU level to deal with dumping of Chinese steel in the UK and the rest of Europe at below market prices says GMB.
GMB, the union for steel workers, is organizing to take part in a protest in Brussels on 15th February to coincide with a special High Level stakeholders' conference in Brussels on the same day for the energy intensive industries including steel.
The conference was agreed by extraordinary meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council on 9th November 2015. It will involve the social partners to review the current situation and consider policy actions, in the context of the on-going work of the High Level Group on Energy Intensive Industries. See notes to editors for copy of GMB and EU press releases dated 9th November.
Dave Hulse, GMB National officer for the steel sector, said “GMB and the other unions in the UK are in the process of organising a demonstration on 15th February in Brussels because of the on-going problems in the steel industry.
We need action at EU level to deal with dumping of Chinese steel in the UK and the rest of Europe at below market prices. This dumping has to stop otherwise UK jobs in the steel industry will simply melt away.”
Contact: Dave Hulse 07971 266157 or Kathleen Walker Shaw in Brussels 07841 181549 or Jim Moohan, GMB Scotland on 07885 868405 or Shaune Clarkson, GMB Scunthorpe 07738 767561 or Jeff Beck in Wales on 07980 753 112 or Russell Farrington in West Midlands 07957 266519 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823 or 07860 401860
Notes to editors
1 GMB press release dated Monday 9th November 2015
GMB In Brussels For Steel Rally On Monday 9th November For Action From UK And EU Governments To Save Jobs In The Steel Industry
We expect Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, and his counterparts across Europe to make some serious decisions today to tackle the major threats facing the industry says GMB
GMB, the union for steel workers, is attending a rally in Brussels on Monday 9th November to press the UK and EU governments to ‘Save our Steel’ and stop the ‘dumping’ of cheap imported steel from China and other third countries.
GMB will be joined by steel workers from the UK and other EU at the rally being held to co-incide with a special EU council of ministers that has been convened with a single item agenda – Steel. The meeting of ministers will be held at 16:30 local time until 18.30. A press conference will follow.
The details of the protest are as follows:
Assemble from 14.30 Monday 9th November,
On the corner of Rue Charlemagne/ Rue de la Loi 200,
Rally at 15.00 outside the Justus Lipsius Council Building,
175 Rue de la Loi,
Dave Hulse, GMB National officer for the steel sector who is attending the rally, said “GMB calls on UK business secretary, Sajid Javid, and his European ministerial counterparts to take urgent action to stop the dumping of cheap Chinese steel, and to work on support measures regarding other issues putting major pressures on the sector.
The UK government has been slow to act in offering concrete support for the country’s crisis hit steel industry, which has been battered by cheap Chinese steel imports where steel prices have collapsed in recent months. The sector is also suffering from the effects of energy prices and the ETS (Emissions trading system) which impacts heavily on the industry.
We expect Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, and his counterparts across Europe to make some serious decisions today to tackle the major threats facing the industry in the UK and Europe. We want to see specific measures to help level the playing field, including:
- increasing the speed and effectiveness of implementing trade defense measures to respond to price crashes in third countries,
- considering measures to support the industry in relation to the revision of the ETS and rules on carbon leakage,
- assess the impact of energy tariffs and how the negative impact can be remedied,
- a block on granting market economy status to China whilst they continue to dump steel on EU markets, and for a full social and economic impact assessment on the question of granting this status to China to be undertaken.
Sajid Javid cannot come back from this meeting empty handed – and if he does then he will need to have a cracking plan B. GMB hopes he will learn from other EU countries such as Germany and Italy who have supported the steel sector more actively, as part of a practical industrial strategy, and come back prepared to do the same.
Ministers must recognise that the UK and wider EU steel industry is competitive and productive, and has a highly skilled and experienced workforce that deserves to be supported and protected. They have to put in place the measures to allow us to compete on a level playing field. We can’t do that with our hands tied behind our back.
Ministers must act now to stop the dumping of cheap Chinese steel, help with high energy and emissions costs and Save Our Steel.”
2 Press release from the EU dated 9th November 2015
Competitiveness Council on the European steel industry - Presidency conclusions
Council of the EU
The Council (Competitiveness) took stock of the serious challenges faced currently by the European Steel industry.
The EU steel sector suffers from major global overcapacity in production, which pushes down prices and encourages trade distorting behaviour from competing regions. High energy costs are eroding margins. And the resulting closure of steel plants is costing thousands of jobs.
The Council agreed on the gravity of the situation as well as on the need to take concrete actions that will help ensure the long-term viability of a modern European steel sector.
The Council also considered that these measures should be part of a comprehensive approach aiming at creating competitive framework conditions for EU industry as a whole, including through a predictable and consistent regulatory environment as well as measures to stimulate innovation, since many of the issues faced by the steel sector are shared by other energy intensive industries.
Taking into account the results of the Council discussion, the Presidency considers that the following concrete actions should be taken as a matter of priority:
· To intensify or launch discussions involving all important steel producers in the context of the OECD Steel Committee and through the Commission's bilateral steel dialogues with third countries like China, Russia, Belarus, Turkey and India.
· To make full and timely use of the full range of EU trade policy instruments to ensure a global level playing field and to address restrictive measures in third countries in particular as regards the steel sector.
· To take a constructive approach when it comes to the modernisation of Trade Defense Instruments that further streamline and expedite their operation, increase transparency, predictability, effectiveness and enforcement.
· To further improve access for the EU steel industry to third markets, including through public procurement, through bilateral and multilateral negotiations and implementation.
· To make full use of the Investment Plan for Europe to upgrade and modernise the steel sector through use of the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
· To make best use of the possibilities given under the revised State Aid rules to support Energy Intensive Industries in R&D&I, training, environment, employment and ETS costs.
· To improve the competitiveness of sectors most at risk of carbon leakage, including the steel industry, by considering, as part of the reform of the European emissions trading system (“EU ETS”):
- a more focused mechanism for free allocation of allowances, for example through a tiered approach;
- elements to minimise the need for a cross-sectoral correction factor by the end of ETS phase IV, while creating the right incentives for industrial innovation and enhancing the possibility to increase production levels, in line with the conclusions of the October 2014 European Council.
· To support the swift implementation of the European Energy Union to ensure access to secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy.
· To fully exploit the possibilities under the forthcoming Communication on the Circular Economy.
· To make best use of the available EU instruments and funding, such as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the European Social Fund, for upskilling workers and facilitate their re-integration into the labour market in case of mass redundancies in any industrial sector, including the steel industry.
To follow up on this extraordinary meeting of the Competitiveness Council, it has been agreed to call for a special High Level stakeholders' conference, involving the social partners, to review the current situation and consider policy actions, in the context of the ongoing work of the High Level Group on Energy Intensive Industries.
The implementation of the 2013 European Steel Action Plan should be assessed in the context of that meeting.