Steel Europe: Loud and clear protest against cheap Chinese steel imports

China’s state subsidized steel production is jeopardizing the European steel industry and the job prospects of young apprentices. So hundreds of apprentices from Steel Europe joined a demonstration in Brussels.

Over 5,000 European steel industry workers have taken part in a march in Brussels to make clear to the European Commission the threat to the industry from cheap Chinese steel. Among the protestors were 600 apprentices from Duisburg, Bochum, Dortmund, Kreuztal and Andernach. Together with their trainers and other employees of the company, they set off on coaches for Brussels in the early hours of Monday morning. Side by side with workers from other European steel companies such as Arcelor Mittal, Tata Steel, HKM, Salzgitter and many more, they marched loudly through the EU quarter of Brussels, where later this year the European Commission is due to decide whether to grant China market economy status.

The apprentices received support from Andreas Goss, CEO of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, and CFO Premal Desai, who joined them on the coach and made their protest clear on the streets of Brussels. “Young employees want good, fair, and skilled jobs. Europe’s steel producers offer tens of thousands such jobs, making a major contribution to the sustainability of our economic and social systems,” said Goss. “These jobs must be protected so that we can offer young people a secure future. Through this action with our apprentices we want to represent our common interests with a strong and unequivocal message.”

As well as tariffs on Chinese steel products, the protestors also called for a review of the planned additional costs associated with the European emissions trading system. “It means we’re importing CO2 and exporting jobs,” said Goss. Depending on scenario, Steel Europe would face extra costs of between 1.9 and three billion euros in the 2021 to 2030 trading period.