Trade union announces action plan for steel and aluminium industry

This week saw trade union Solidarity announcing an action plan to support the local steel and aluminium industry in response to the United States decision not to exempt South Africa from steel and aluminium import tariffs.

The action plan states that Solidarity will continue to engage with government and local industry on the matter while lending support to and collaborating with the Department of Trade and Industry in further efforts to convince US authorities to grant the country exemption from the tariffs.

Solidarity said that it would also liaise with key organisations in the US steel and aluminium industry who had been involved in the Section 232 investigations which led to the implementation of the tariffs.

The union intends to submit a petition requesting the US to revisit its exemption decision with regard to South Africa and is currently drafting a contingency plan to deal with the possibility of job losses in the industry should these measures fail.

“We are concerned that the tariffs will result in many job losses in the local industry,” said Solidarity Metal and Engineering Industry deputy general secretary, Marius Croucamp. “The South African steel and aluminium industry has been under pressure for a number of years due to international and local market conditions as well as the dumping of steel.”

He alleged that there was a possibility that the actions of government at the United Nations (UN) had sparked the decision by the US not to exempt South Africa. This after a recent report by the US Department of State identified South Africa as one of the member countries least likely to vote with the US in the UN.

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