Dusseldorf, Muehlheim The French steel tube group Vallourec wants to close its two traditional plants in Düsseldorf and Mülheim an der Ruhr. A total of around 2,400 employees were affected, the company announced on Wednesday in Düsseldorf. IG Metall spoke of a “disaster”. On Monday, around 1,000 employees demonstrated in front of the group’s headquarters in Paris to keep their jobs.
Production is scheduled to end at the end of 2023. The two locations used to belong to Mannesmannrohren-Werke AG. The Düsseldorf plant in the Rath district has existed since 1899, the plant in Mülheim since 1966. A Vallourec research center in Riesa, Saxony, with around 40 employees, is not affected by the closures, according to a spokeswoman.
Vallourec had been trying to sell the two plants since November. According to the company, however, none of the offers presented showed a sustainable future security for the production sites. Vallourec Germany mainly produces seamless steel tubes for the oil and gas market as well as industrial applications in mechanical engineering and steel construction.
The production of seamless steel tubes in Germany is no longer feasible for Vallourec for economic reasons, explained CEO Philippe Guillemot. Vallourec Germany has been making significant losses for seven years. The reasons for this are overcapacities in the industry, falling margins, but also external shocks such as various oil crises, punitive tariffs from China, the corona crisis and the war in Ukraine started by Russia with dramatic effects on raw material and energy prices.
Top jobs of the day
Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.
Vallourec now wants to start talks with the works councils and IG Metall about a reconciliation of interests and a social plan. “We are interested in finding a fair and decent solution for the people we have worked with for so long,” said Guillemot. “We are trying to mitigate the impact as much as possible given the overall situation.”
IG Metall: Great anger in the workforce
“It’s a disaster – for the region, for jobs,” said the managing director of IG Metall Düsseldorf-Neuss, Karsten Kaus, the German Press Agency. The shock was great, even if the decision had already become apparent. Everything had previously been tried, for example to accompany the sales process. A continuation concept was also developed with the works council and a consulting company. “None of that came to fruition in the end.”
The anger in the workforce is great – also because of the way the workforce is treated, said Kaus. They found out about the plans from the press on Wednesday evening. The company only wants to inform the employees about the closure plans at a meeting in a Düsseldorf event hall on Friday. Kaus announced that the union now wants to negotiate “a good social tariff”.
Vallourec Germany had already closed a pipe factory in Düsseldorf-Reisholz in 2020. A total of around 1,400 jobs have been cut since 2015. “Despite all efforts, it has not yet been possible to operate the German locations to cover costs,” the company stated.
More: AOrder backlog in German industry is getting longer