A restructuring plan by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp that involved cutting up to 550 jobs at its Italian stainless steel plant has been put on hold following a week-long strike action.
Industry sources said that the move comes after Italy’s economic ministry last week called for a halt to job cuts at the Acciai Speciali Terni plant pending a September 4 meeting with unions.
The ministry had said that ThyssenKrupp had accepted the minister’s request to suspend decisions relating to the plant. Unrest at the plant had ceased with workers calling an end to their strike although there is currently no production at the plant because a pre arranged summer maintenance programme began on Monday.
Tensions at Terni are a blow to Thyssenkrupp, which was forced to take back the loss-making plant from Finland’s Outokumpu earlier this year even though its strategy is to get out of the stainless business.
In July, Thyssenkrupp presented a plan to cut about a fifth of the jobs at Terni and EUR 100 million in annual costs adding that failure to meet targets would force it to close one of its 600,000 tonne a year stainless furnaces.
The Terni site, about 100 kilometers from Rome, is a big employer in the Umbria region and a big supplier to Italian industry. It has changed hands twice in the past four years and may be put up for sale again in the medium term.
In an effort to protect their jobs, workers last week took strike action against the cuts and blocked the A1 motorway near the plant, an important route between Rome and Terni. A worker at the plant said that “There is a witch-hunt climate at the moment with all workers trying to figure out whether their job will be cut. We are on forced holidays this week but I would have preferred to be at work.”
Source – Reuters