ThyssenKrupp, Spanish unions agree on Galmed HDG plant shutdown

ThyssenKrupp has reached agreement with worker representatives on the closure of its Galmed steel plant in Sagunto near Valencia, Spain, a spokesman told Steel First on Friday August 2.

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The hot dipped galvanizing plant, which employs 165 people, is to be closed in light of the difficult market conditions in the European steel industry.

No exact date for the end of production at Galmed has been released yet, although the company said it aims to make a decision after August. Although the closure will initially be for maintenance purposes, it may become permanent if business fails to pick up. 

There would be no further discussions with trade unions if the closure is to be permanent.

“We are currently working as planned until August 4 [when many buyers shut down for holidays],” the ThyssenKrupp spokesman said.

“We will still supply all finished material to customers from calendar week 34 [August 19-25]. Then we will verify whether the line is [to be] started up again,” he added.

The provisional agreement was the result of talks with workers ‘representatives and advisers from trade union Confederacion Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and employees.

Management will now present the agreement to the workers, who will have the option to move to different jobs within the group, take early retirement or choose redundancy.

The German parent company first announced plans to close the plant earlier in 2013, as part of a restructuring programme aimed at saving €500 million ($663 million).

The Galmed facility had already been hit by capacity utilisation reductions as demand for flat steel products in Spain has fallen by about 40% since 2007, according to ThyssenKrupp.

The Galmed line supplies coated coil and sheet to car manufacturers and other industrial customers.

Only a month ago, the unions called for further industrial action over the shutdown plans