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Sectoral social dialogue - Steel

Social partners

Workers' organisations Employers' organisations
industriAll European Trade Union European Steel Association (EUROFER)

Social dialogue in this sector covers:

  • manufacture of basic iron, steel and ferro-alloys.

The activities covered in this sector are those defined by NACE (Rev. 2) classes

  • 24.1 (Manufacture of basic iron and steel and of ferro alloys),
  • 24.2 (Manufacture of tubes, pipes, hollow profiles and related fittings, of steel)
  • 24.3 (Manufacture of other products of first processing of steel).

The steel sector employs around 450,000 people in the EU.

However, the number of people directly employed in this area has fallen by 20% since 2007.

There are 528 production facilities in 24 EU countries. They account for about 10% of total global production.

Industry issues inlcude

  • high energy prices (compared to main competitors – China, Japan, South Korea, the US, Russia)
  • unfair trade practices by non-EU countries.

The social partners want to obtain fair trading conditions for EU producers through improved EU trade defence instruments (TDI).

Under the EU's emissions trading system (ETS), the EU's steel industry has been identified as having a 'very high risk' of carbon leakage. The social partners are calling for changes to the ETS proposal to safeguard the global competitiveness of the EU steel industry.

Key areas

The Committee is currently focusing on:

  • strengthening the industrial base
  • global competitiveness of the European steel industry – follow-up on joint analysis
  • EU steel skills council project – follow-up
  • apprentices in the EU steel industry, boosting employment with high quality jobs
  • participating in High Level Expert Group (HLG) on energy intensive industries
  • contributing to Steel Action Plan
  • climate change policy
  • industrial policy on raw materials and trade
  • dealing with an ageing workforce
  • small businesses,
  • health, safety and wellbeing at work

Activities and meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.

Recent achievements


  • Review of the EU ETS post 2020: reconciling climate ambition with industry’s competitiveness and employment – joint position
  • Supporting a globally sustainable economy which reconciles environmental objectives with competitiveness and the creation of quality employment – joint declaration on the G7 summit, Elmau
  • European Council Conclusions on 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework – joint position


  • European Council Conclusions on 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework – joint position
  • review of ETS – open letter to heads of state and government
  • report: Industrial relation practices related to psychosocial constraints at work in the steel sector – joint project


  • European Steel Action Plan – joint declaration


  • 2010 – climate change policy, joint opinion
  • 2008 – revision of the ETS, joint opinion

Further reading