Steelmaker SSAB finalises temporary layoffs in Europe

Nordic steel producer SSAB will implement temporary staff layoffs lasting two-three weeks over the rest of this year.

The SSAB Europe division, which has its largest sites at Raahe and Hameenlinna in Finland, employs almost 4,000 workers. Employees will not be paid during the layoffs. How the cuts will be allocated will be determined in the coming weeks, the company said.

SSAB will continue to apply the flexible “working-time bank” with production workers at its Sweden operations, and is in dialogue with trade union IF Metall regarding the measures. The working-time bank can be used when there are longer maintenance periods, or to accommodate periods of lower production.

SSAB is also planning flexible working arrangements with office staff in Sweden, which will be implemented during the fourth quarter.

As with other European mills, SSAB is battling with weaker steel demand and prices, increased competition from imports and higher costs.

Argus‘ headline northwest Europe hot-rolled coil index slipped from €535/t ex-works on 12 November 2018 to €457.75/t today. At the same time, iron ore has risen to $96.60/dmt from $76.25/dmt, resulting in a substantial margin squeeze for mills.