In order to avoid a breakdown, the Polish steel industry needs serious changes in domestic regulations and action on the EU forum – such are the conclusions of the session of the working team for economic policy and the labour market of the Social Dialog Council held on March 31st. Specific solutions were presented by the Voivodeship Social Dialog Council in Katowice and will serve as the basis of a common position of employees and employers.
After investing nearly 11 bln PLN in restructuring, the Polish steel industry is one of the most modern in Europe. However, its competitiveness or even its continued existence are under threat due to factor beyond the steel mills’ control – energy prices, legal regulations in Poland and EU, as well as the import of steel products at dumping prices.
In two succinctly formulated positions, representatives of the Voivodeship Social Dialog Council in Katowice presented problems facing the steel industry and energy consuming companies in general. They showed that a new approach to defining energy-consuming companies is needed in order for steel mills to be entitled to investment deductions.
The report presented diagnosed all the major challenges for the steel industry – unfair competition from China and Belarus, lack of EU protection for the European steel market, very costly EU ETS regulations (greenhouse gas emissions trade). Relevant recommendations for the government and legislative suggestions, including keeping the so-called inverted VAT as a measure against abuses in the steel industry, were also presented.
Government representatives present at the meeting accepted most of the arguments as relevant and expressed willingness to get more closely acquainted with suggested solutions. Therefore, having discussed all issues on the agenda, the working team decided to prepare a common position of employees and employers on the basis of the suggestions presented by the the Voivodeship Social Dialog Council in Katowice.