15. 05. 2019 14:58
After an agreement with trade unionists, a four-day working week could continue at U.S. Steel Košice (USSK) also in June, its president James E. Bruno admitted on Tuesday, adding that it is unlikely that the unfavourable situation on the steel market will improve in the coming months. "The first quarter was bad and we don't see any indicators that would suggest that the macroeconomic situation should change for the rest of the year," said Bruno, pointing out that a lot of steel from third countries is arriving in the EU under unfair market conditions, which puts the Košice steelmaker at a disadvantage. According to him, the effectiveness of protective measures by the EU has proved insufficient. The management of the company agreed with the trade unions on a four-day working week for May for the time being. Employees are given 70-percent wage compensation for a day when they stay at home. U.S. Steel is the biggest private employer in Slovakia's second largest city with 12,000 people working for the company.
Economy Minister Peter Žiga (Smer-SD) discussed the current situation with U.S. Steel Košice's president on Tuesday. According to him, the steel industry in Europe is currently in a more difficult situation than last year. "The steel market is in a subtle depression, which can mean lower revenues as well as lower profits, but I appreciate that U.S. Steel has decided to continue investing in Košice and possibly increase the labour productivity needed to maintain competitiveness. We talked about the possibilities of the Government to help the company to preserve employment and production for the next period," Žiga told reporters. One such measure would be to offer big employers such as U.S.Steel or the carmaker Volkswagen the status of "strategic employer" but it's unclear at the moment what this could mean in practice.