European social partners aware of serious situation in steel industry
In his article 'Steelmakers need better prospects', Mikulas Hintos, who is a member of the base metals committee of the IndustriAll European Trade Union, recalls the
recent letter sent by 60 leading representatives of the steel industry in Europe to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, which was also signed by U. S. Steel Kosice
President Scott D. Buckiso. The steel industry leaders state that they share the ambition to fight climate change effectively and support the fulfillment of EU goals in the areas of employment,
growth nd competitiveness. They also welcome the commitment to ensure industry's 20% share in the EU GDP, as it used to have in the past. They are concerned, however, that the EC's proposal to
review the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) might bury these ambitions generally, and fail to ensure in particular the protective measures required in our sector regarding CO2 emissions and
the associated capital investment.
The steel producers point out once again that the European steelmaking sector is facing furious global competition while still having to bear the impact of the
recent economic crisis. In 2014 the level of demand for steel represented just 28% of the pre-crisis level, and 20% of workplaces have been lost in this sector. Excess global steel production
capacity, evident especially in China, combined with extremely liberal trading principles in Europe, is causing great unpredictability in every single order for steel. The steel producers want
legislation passed which would set up sufficient protective measures for European industry. They warn that any kind of review of emissions trading in Europe would lead to structural competitive
disadvantage for European industry in favor of third-world producers. They express concern at the ongoing discussions in the European Commission about reducing free allocations for sectors with
higher CO2 emissions, which could have an impact on employment stability and capital investment. The steel producers require implementation of the sequence of steps for reducing emissions as set
out in their letter, including continuation in development of breakthrough technologies in steel manufacturing.
Just like the steel industry leaders, the labor organizations associated in IndustriAll trust that the presented facts will be taken fully into account, so that a
more favorable business environment will be created based on achievable goals, leading to an improved employment situation in our conditions as well. Mikulas Hintos emphasizes that, although it
might seem that all these problems are being dealt with far away from us and do not involve us, the stark fact is that they can have direct impact on our Company's business.
Production processes improved through Carnegie Way energy projects
The central War Room is the place where projects focusing on improving production methods in line with the Carnegie Way transformation process are gathered together
and monitored. While the meetings here are always held on Wednesdays, the sessions in the five local staff rooms take place on Tuesday mornings. One of these is known as Energy & Environment
(E&E), and this brings together production support representatives from the Power Engineering, Transportation and Mechanics divisions as well as from Environment, R&D, Engineering and
BSCE. Meetings in the local E&E War Room are also attended by Vice President Energy, Environment and Technical Inspection Vladimir Jacko and General Manager Production Support Peter Gaszi,
and they are chaired by the Director Innovation and Energy Strategy Ladislav Horvath.
The meeting agenda typically includes familiarization with findings from the so-called Gemba Walk visits to predetermined parts of production operations which are
important for the Company from the point of view of efficiency. Then there are presentations of new projects, as well as progress being made in already ongoing projects, discussions of new ideas
and decisions on projects to be presented in the central War Room, and finally the places for Gemba Walk visits are selected for the current week.
The team which meets in the E&E War Room has so far contributed to the combined efforts aimed at improving production processes and cost-saving at
U. S. Steel Kosice with 146 projects. They are currently monitoring 111 "live" projects, of which the majority (62 projects) are now in the D0 phase. These are mostly cases of outputs
from what is known as the Idea Generation Workshop. At present they have 27 projects which have reached phase D5.