Steel workers voice concern over ‘irresponsible’ green transition

Rising global steel overcapacity due to “irresponsible” practices by some multinationals and “misguided action” by governments failing to invest in the green transition is damaging the steel workforce in favour of short-term profit maximisation. So says the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD.

At the OECD Steel Committee meeting in Paris on 25-26 March, TUAC says it raised issues with some steel companies refusing to sit at the table with union representatives.

Multinational companies are “exploiting competition between states over decarbonisation aid,” TUAC says in a note seen by Kallanish. “There is a growing concern that workers will bear the cost of essential investments for carbon emission reduction, through mass dismissals rather than upskilling and re-training, even in steel companies that are not under financial pressure.”

“TUAC partners argue that the current changes in the steel industry do not equal a just transition, instead fearing an unjust transition where only financial goals are pursued over environmental and social priorities. TUAC, IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll Europe urgently call for a re-evaluation of priorities within the steel industry, advocating for a balanced approach with workers at the table,” TUAC says.

“We call on governments to make financial support to steel companies conditional on new investments in green technology, retention of workers and respect of social dialogue,” it concludes.

Adam Smith, Poland