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LIBERTY Shuts Down Its Last Furnace; Unions Brace for Impact

LIBERTY Shuts Down Its Last Furnace; Unions Brace for Impact
photo: LIBERTY Ostrava / Public domain/LIBERTY Shuts Down Its Last Furnace; Unions Brace for Impact
24 / 10 / 2023

The last active furnace at the LIBERTY site in Ostrava was shut down yesterday, leading trade unions to express concerns over its potential permanent closure.

According to RAILTARGET, the shutdown is expected to last 14 days. During this period, the furnace will undergo maintenance and upgrades, after which it is intended to be restarted.

It's notable that shutting down and subsequently restarting such a furnace is a process that is energy-intensive and can take several weeks to achieve the right temperature. This calls to mind a similar situation from a year ago when the second furnace was shut down for purportedly the same reasons but has yet to be restarted. Does this mean that the currently shut-down furnace might meet a similar fate?

"Due to the ongoing reduced demand across Europe, which is primarily driven by macroeconomic factors, LIBERTY Ostrava has decided to temporarily halt operations at blast furnace No. 3," stated Kateřina Zajíčková, a spokeswoman for LIBERTY Ostrava.

LIBERTY Ostrava / Public domain

Sources from RAILTARGET suggest that in the future, only downstream production might take place at LIBERTY's Ostrava smelter. If this proves true, questions arise regarding potential layoffs at the smelter. Should employees in Ostrava begin seeking alternative employment? This is precisely the concern that keeps the trade unions at LIBERTY on edge.

Source of information: Liberty Ostrava