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Steelworkers march on Brussels

Community
Community
15th February 2016

Community, the UK steelworkers’ union, has joined with steelworkers and steel employers across Europe to demand the EU takes the tough action necessary to save our steel industry.  Over 150 steelworkers from across the UK travelled to Brussels to march to the EU Commission. They were joined by 5,000 steelworkers from 15 European countries.

 

Steel march

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, led the UK contingent. Speaking at the march, Roy Rickhuss said: “Steelworkers across Europe are feeling the effects of unfairly traded imports and a lack of government action. Unions and businesses are joining together and with one voice demanding our governments back our steel industry.

 

“The UK government has a lot to answer for and should be doing more to stand up for UK steel in Europe and around the world. But instead of showing leadership in Europe they are blocking tougher penalties for steel dumping and backing Market Economy Status for China.

 

“The UK and Europe cannot afford to lose its steelmaking capacity, so our government and the European Commission desperately need to start defending our industry and demonstrating that their actions match their warm words. We have to make governments in the UK and across Europe understand the human cost of not taking action to create the chance of a sustainable future for our steel industry.

 

“Today, steelworkers and their employers were united in their plea for more swift and robust measures to stop unfairly traded steel and a level playing field to compete in a global market. Delays in heeding our warnings and acting to end Europe’s steel crisis will only leave thousands more jobs under threat and put the future of a vital, strategic industry at risk, with devastating consequences for steel communities around Europe.”

 

Some European governments are calling for the European Commission to scrap what is called the ‘lesser duty’ rule and implement tougher anti-dumping penalties. The rule means that the EU will only impose small tariffs on dumped steel (or any product). Unlike the USA, the EU does not impose a tariff to tackle the full cost of dumping and thus it has minimal positive impact on EU industry. There is currently a proposal within the EU to abandon this rule and implement much tougher penalties. The UK is opposed to lifting this rule.

 

Steel producers are also concerned about China getting Market Economy Status within the World Trade Organisation. This would make it much more difficult to take measures against unfairly traded Chinese steel. Currently China does not meet the criteria to achieve MES but European governments and the Commission are considering its position.

 

Notes
1. Community is the largest and leading trade union within the UK steel industry.
2. For more information contact Callum Munro on 07821250904 / cmunro@community-tu.org or Matt Ball on 07799772250 / mball@community-tu.org.