Italian unions announce September 11 strike action at Ilva over sale uncertainty

Italian steel trade unions have announced company-wide strike action at troubled Italian steelmaker Ilva, to take place on Tuesday September 11, four unions said in a joint statement on Friday August 31.

The statement was co-signed by Fim-Cisl, Fiom-Cgil, Uilm and Usb.

The decision to strike comes amid continued uncertainty over the future of the flat steel producer, after Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s minister for economic development, said on August 22 that the tender for the sale of Ilva might be not be valid.

A day later, ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, told Metal Bulletin that it remained committed to its acquisition of Ilva and to acting as a responsible owner and operator of the business.

AM Investco, the consortium led by ArcelorMittal, agreed to purchase Ilva in May 2017.

“Since August 6, we have awaited news [on] the resumption of negotiations and the Italian ministry’s assessment that the Ilva tender is legitimate,” the trade unions said on August 31.

“On Monday August 27, we unanimously urged the Italian government to convene all the parties and, to date, we have not yet received a reply,” the union statement continued.

The unions reiterated their view that Ilva was at risk of being closed down because it will run out of funds in mid-September this year unless the country’s government speeds up the sale process.

In late June, the Italian authorities postponed the agreed takeover by ArcelorMittal until September 15.

The trade unions will also hold a protest outside Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development on September 11, they said.

Ilva’s Taranto steel plant is the biggest in Europe and its principal product is hot-rolled coil. Metal Bulletin’s price assessment for domestic HRC in Southern Europe was €550-570 ($642-666) per tonne ex-works on August 29, up from €550-560 per tonne ex-works on August 22.