The unions have also "accepted night work and overtime to reduce costs", says the German group Saarstahl.
The French steelworks Ascoval will reduce by "50% max“its steel production from October to December due to the soaring cost of energy, announced Thursday the management of the German group Saarstahl, which acquired it in 2021 and ensures that it wants to continue to invest in it. "Ascoval will reduce its steel production by a maximum of 50% from October to December 2022. High energy costs force Ascoval to take this stepSaarstahl told AFP, confirming information from the World.
"As Others Close or Temporarily Suspend Production, We Act Responsibly“, underlines the group, which employs some 300 employees in Saint-Saulve (North), a rotating site with electric ovens. In October, the ovens will be off on Mondays and then in November and December they will operate from Wednesday to Sunday morning, according to Saarstahl. Unions also haveaccepted night work and overtime to reduce costs".
"As electricity prices are unfortunately indexed to gas, at current rates we cannot afford to continue working, otherwise we sell at a loss.“, lamented to AFP the CGT union representative Nacim Bardi, describing a “unprecedented situation". "The Germans see far, they see the ecological transition. They picked us up because we're an electric oven and they're putting their hands in their pockets for now, but for how long?“, he worried.
Recruitment and training maintained
He notes for the moment that recruitment and training are maintained, as well as "the homologation process for German automotive customers who want green steel», whereas the site currently mainly produces steel bars intended for the manufacture of rails. "The company will continue to invest in the production of green steel. 350,000 tons will be produced this year, up to 600,000 tons are possible in the years to comeSaarstahl assured. Whether "the railway currently accounts for 80% of the sales market», «the German automotive industry may account for 50% of production in the future".
Following the financial setbacks of Liberty Steel and its boss, British tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, Saarstahl acquired the group's two French sites in June 2021, Ascoval (Nord) and Hayange (Moselle). But in November 2021, Saarstahl announced that it wanted to transfer across the Rhine, where the blast furnaces run on coal, 40% of the production of Saint-Saulve to cope with the rise in electricity prices, before giving it up, in front of an outcry from the French government.