POLITICS

Steel unions to protest in Campia Turzii

Approximately 1,000 employees of the Mechel steel plant in Campia Turzii will organise a protest followed by a march on September 14, protesting the unjustified suspension of activity by the Russian employer who threatens to lay off nearly 800 workers, according to the President of the Metarom Union Federation, Mircea Scantei. The Mechel concern explains its decision by the lack of orders for the plant. The rally scheduled to begin at 12:00 in front of the steel mill in Campia Turzii will be followed by the rest of a meeting with Government officials and Mechel management to deal with the issues. Union leaders claim the Russian employer already fired 800 workers in March. ‘What will be left in practice is a small workshop’, Mediafax quotes Scantei as having said. Moreover, according to labour unions, neither production nor demand decreased in the first half of the year compared to the first half of 2011. ‘In this context, it probably is a question of management. It is the first time after 1990 that Romanian metal producers have lost the domestic market, which means that 50 per cent of the necessary goods come for the foreign market. Trade unions say they have reported the situation to the Romanian Governments several times already, but the situation has not changed at all. Minister Delegate for Social Dialogue Liviu Pop has just promised to study the privatisation agreement to which unions do not have access. Metarom representatives say that, apart from the lay-offs, the situation is even more serious as the facility and the equipment of the plant are being dismantled and sold as scrap iron which eliminated any hope for a possible resale and restart of the mill. Labour unions inform that the situation is not at all singular as all other companies owned by the Russian investors – Targoviste, Buzau, Braila and Otelul Rosu – work at low capacity and are affected by lay-offs. The Metarom president notes there were approximately 200,000 employees in Romanian steel sector in 1990 and only 31,000 at present.

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