Ireland’s steel industry in shock after new wave of plant closures
A wave of steel plant closures across Ireland is putting jobs at risk and leaving millions of people struggling to make ends meet, a new report has found.
The Irish Institute of Manufacturing (IIM) said on Thursday that around 2,400 steel plants have closed across the country since 2016 and it has warned that the pace of closures is set to accelerate.
In the same period, IIM said, around 1,800 manufacturing jobs were lost in Ireland, while the number of employed steelworkers in the country is estimated at around 1.3 million.
It warned that this could have a profound impact on the economy as well as the wellbeing of the workforce.
The report also highlighted the high cost of steel imports and the risks to workers when those imports become more expensive.
It said that a further 3,500 plants were in the process of closure, while another 6,000 are under construction.
It added that the number in the construction phase is set at 8,000, while at the end of the year the figure will rise to 13,000.
The impact of closures on employment is likely to be even greater as some of the closures will result in fewer workers.
The IIM report, titled Steel in the Spotlight: the effects of plant closure on employment and wages, said that in the five years between 2012 and 2016, about 9,500 jobs were created in the sector.
In addition, it said that the manufacturing sector added almost 6,700 jobs in the same time period.
The closure of 2,000 steel plants in just five years is the equivalent of closing a factory for a day in a single year.
The loss of jobs is likely a result of the downturn in the steel industry, as demand has been falling for years.
“We know that many steelworkers have been devastated by the closure of their jobs. “
“These steelworkers are often the most vulnerable to job losses in the event of a sudden and unexpected downturn in world supply, which could also impact their ability to meet the demands of their families.” “
The report found that steelworkers’ pay is the second-lowest of all industries in Ireland after that of construction workers, at just over €1,000 a week. “
These steelworkers are often the most vulnerable to job losses in the event of a sudden and unexpected downturn in world supply, which could also impact their ability to meet the demands of their families.”
The report found that steelworkers’ pay is the second-lowest of all industries in Ireland after that of construction workers, at just over €1,000 a week.
The study found that more than 90 per cent are on a basic pay-cheque, and that the majority of workers in the industry are women.
It also found that the vast majority of steelworkers make between €20,000 and €30,000 per year, with women making a significant proportion of this.
More than 70 per cent earn less than €10,000 annually, it found.