ISD Dunaferr postpones lay-offs, continues efficiency improvements

ISD Dunaferr has postponed plans to lay off 350 workers after reaching a wage agreement with unions, a company official tells Kallanish.

The Hungarian steelmaker announced the lay-offs last October as a result of the weak performance of the European steel industry. Due to slowing economic growth and falling steel demand, the firm had to postpone a number of strategic development projects in 2019 and curtail production. However, it avoided the plant closures seen at other European steelmakers.

This week’s agreement will ensure there are no lay-offs until at least 31 December 2020. The parties agreed a 5.8% average wage increase versus the almost 34% raise seen in the last two years. But it comes at the cost of reducing the number of workers hired in the past two months, as well as early retirement for some employees and agency worker cuts.

“Pinpoint optimisation will obviously continue,” the official says of plans to boost efficiency. A spokesman adds that Dunaferr “… is now working hard to boost production and take advantage of improving market opportunities.”

Dunaferr recently revamped its hot-dip galvanized coil line, thereby increasing its capacity by 20-30% (see Kallanish passim). Last year the producer said it will increase HDG output to 130,000 tonnes/year.

In 2018 its hot rolled coil sales rose 1% on-year to 639,925t, with cold rolled coil and HDG sales up 3% and 4% respectively to 319,210t and 104,330t. Overall steel sales rose 5% to 1.64 million tonnes. The firm has a 1.7m t/y crude steel capacity.