ArcelorMittal Poland argues that the production cycle and market situation force the suspension of some works at the plant. Steelworkers see this as an announcement of further layoffs and the closure of part of the plant, so on Thursday they protested in Nowa Huta – despite the previously signed agreement with the management.
Trade unionists and their families protested on Thursday at the gate of the steelworks in Nowa Huta against ArcelorMittal Poland’s decisions related to production reductions. They do not like the “hot shutdown of the coke oven battery” and the announcement of layoffs at ArcelorMittal Tubular Products.
Nowa Huta. ArcelorMittal Poland announced the shutdown of the coking plant
At the beginning of December, the steelworks management announced the shutdown of the ArcelorMittal Poland coking plant in Krakow. This is called “hot battery standstill” and is related to maintaining a high temperature of the installation and the possibility of restarting it. To protect the interests of employees, last week an agreement was signed with trade unions, which assumed that 129 out of 229 employees employed in the Krakow coking plant would find employment in other ArcelorMittal Poland plants. Approximately 100 people will perform work related to the maintenance of the coking plant during its shutdown.
As noted by the company’s representative, both ArcelorMittal Poland and the social side agreed that the most important goal is to provide employees with another job in the company or its subsidiaries. Most of them will therefore receive a job offer in other areas of the company.
The company announced the commencement of a hot shutdown of the coke oven battery in Kraków in November. She explained that this was primarily due to low demand and an unfavorable relationship between the price of coking coal and the price of coke. However, this is not just an attempt to wait out a worse period, but rather another step towards limiting activities at the Krakow steelworks. In 2020, the company decided to permanently close the raw material part, i.e. the blast furnace and the steel plant. However, the company assures that it does not intend to withdraw from Krakow.
On Thursday, steelworks workers protested despite the agreement
Despite the agreement, on Thursday, steelworks workers and their families gathered at the plant gate to protest against the temporary suspension of some works.
Bankier.pl asked the AMP press office why it assured in its announcements that an agreement had been reached, since it is clearly visible that there is no universal consent to the agreed provisions.
– We would like to remind you that the decision to stop is dictated by the situation on the coke market: low demand and an unfavorable relationship between the price of the raw material in the form of coking coal and the product, i.e. coke – wrote Marzena Rogozik from the ArcelorMittal Poland press office in response. – The value of investments in the Krakow branch of ArcelorMittal Poland this year alone amounted to nearly PLN 200 million. This shows that we still want to produce steel products here. However, it should be remembered that the steel industry is a cyclical industry – this means that periods of economic boom and bust alternate with each other. Additionally, in recent years we have also had to deal with the consequences of completely unpredictable events, such as the pandemic or the war in Ukraine, which have a strong impact on our operations.
She added that the steelworks cannot produce goods that it cannot sell. – In recent years, huge amounts of steel products have entered the Polish market, mainly from third countries. Despite these difficulties and the need to make difficult decisions, we always put the care of our employees and their families first, emphasized the spokeswoman.