Position papers

Urgent action needed to safeguard the European steel sector and jobs!

European Social Partners Joint Statement

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European steel is at the heart of European industry and is responsible for 310,000 direct, and 2.2 million indirect jobs, in the EU. The triple energy, raw material and cost of living crises means that strong social dialogue and support at national and European level is more important than ever to safeguard the sector and protect jobs.

With energy costs around seven times higher than before the crisis and carbon at 70€/t, the European steel sector is buckling under huge bills, much higher than in those in other steel producing regions. The illegal invasion of Ukraine, which exasperated the energy crisis, has also led to a massive decrease or stoppage of traditional raw materials supply from Russia and Ukraine, such as iron ore, requiring European companies sourcing from other destinations at much higher costs. Furthermore, workers and citizens are suffering with EU inflation at 10% (September 2022).

The European Social Partners, the European Steel Association (EUROFER) and industriAll European Trade Union (industriAll Europe), call for urgent action to safeguard the European steel sector and protect these high skilled, quality jobs in Europe while also working towards a carbon-lean, environmentally responsible, circular, and internationally competitive European steel sector.

The twin green and digital transitions have never been more challenging, and additional investment and support will be needed to ensure that these transitions are a success with no steel worker or region being left behind.

European Social Partners:

  1. Agree to fully respect social dialogue at all levels, in line with national or European legislation.
  2. Call on companies to keep investing in both their plants and their people, and on public authorities to swiftly support industrial decarbonisation projects and the related energy infrastructure, and to develop the appropriate regulatory framework creating lead markets for green steel and securing effective carbon leakage protection as set out in the social partners’ previous joint letter.
  3. Demand an EU fund to support national short-term work schemes, via the implementation of SURE 2.0, to keep companies afloat with strong social conditionality in place.
  4. Insist on implementing short-term emergency solutions that limit the costs and prices of gas and electricity while also ensuring security of supply.
  5. Support an ambitious, and forward-looking, revision of the EU’s Waste Shipments Regulation noting the importance of scrap steel for decarbonisation and the circular economy.
  6. Insist on EU action to ensure fair trade and ask the EU to consider emergency measures with regard to imports, stressing the enormous energy price/cost distortion at the detriment of EU steel and workers, fierce global competition and increased global excess capacity, with many non-European regions much less impacted by the triple crises.
  7. Call on all stakeholders to work together to ensure a Just Transition for any steel worker or steel region impacted by the green or digital transition.

The European Social Partners will continue to work together and with national and European policy makers to ensure the survival of the European steel sector.

Signed in Brussels, 17 October 2022

Published: 18 October 2022


The European Steel Association (EUROFER)
172 Avenue de Cortenbergh
1000 Brussels


Email: mail@eurofer.eu
Phone: +32 (0) 2 738 79 20