William Malcolm

Liberty Ostrava Steelworks Production Slowdown Continues

Liberty Ostrava steelworks continues to run a reduced production schedule, which it introduced in July due to the high prices of raw materials and imports of steel from countries outside the European Union. They don’t currently have plans to eliminate any jobs, but some of the employees who have taken leave will remain at home with reduced wages.

Production at the steelworks temporarily decreased by 20 percent. Liberty Ostrava didn’t shut down any equipment but rather slowed the pace of production. They will also repair the rolling mill during the reduced output.

“Steel prices across European markets are volatile and are exacerbated by political uncertainty, high raw material prices, and a significant amount of unfair steel imports from outside the EU at prices not affected by carbon taxes or other environmental fees. This puts steel prices below European producers’ costs,” said the general manager of Ashok Patil.

To reduce production, employees have already taken most of their leave. “The company will have to apply the provisions of the Labor Code on obstacles on the part of the employer, and part of the employees of the final production will receive a reduced wage during the period of taking additional leave,” said the spokeswoman of the steelworks Barbora Černá Dvořáková.

The trade unions want to appeal to Czech and European politicians to help solve the situation.

Steelmakers have long warned that non-EU firms do not have to meet such high environmental requirements and therefore need to protect the European market more. The trade unionists demonstrated in Brussels two years ago. Imports of steel into the EU are still increasing.

Liberty Ostrava produces steel for construction and engineering. It exports to more than 40 countries. In 2018, the company produced 2.2 million tons of steel as ArcelorMittal and achieved a net profit of CZK 4.1 billion, 946 million more than the previous year. Liberty Ostrava has 6,300 employees, including its subsidiaries. The company has been part of the GFG Alliance Liberty Steel Group since July 2019.