Spanish steel mills were permitted to resume production on April 2, albeit at significantly reduced rates, after the Ministry of Industry reclassified the steel industry as an “essential” and “critical sector” on March 31.

 

According to the explanatory note on royal decree-law 10/2020, the country’s steel sector may continue to operate but must maintain activity at levels close to their minimum capacity utilization through minimum staffing levels and/or work shift patterns.

 

The government was urged to clarify its position in writing after the director general of Unión de Empresas Siderúrgicas (Union of Steelmaking Enterprises – Unesid), Andrés Barceló, stressed in an interview on March 30 that many mills could not safely halt output with less than 24 hours’ notice.

 

While supporting the government’s decision to reclassify the steel industry as an essential sector,  Barceló noted that Spanish steel companies would need the help and collaboration of the government in extending liquidity to a sector that suffers from very high fixed costs.

 

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