After a period of sudden drops in the economic situation of 2008 a period of relative stability has occurred. The crisis hit all the metallurgical enterprises rather painfully but the Works has held out. And though it is still a long way to previous prosperity a flicker of light can be seen at the end of the tunnel.
At the operational trade union meeting the head of the planning and economic department Yuriy Kozakevich told about the results of last year and the perspectives for 2009. Today the Works has gained 75-80% of the production volume of last year. Stored products in metal trader storages are reducing and the demand for our products is gradually increasing, though not to such an extent as it was earlier. Actually, the Works could increase the production of metal products today but because its price remains quite low and the expenditure has not reduced, it is necessary to choose the optimal level of production, which allows to work with minimum losses, and to preserve work places.
The Government took some steps to meet the metallurgists’ needs in accordance with the signed memorandum. Monthly increase of costs on electricity has stopped in the first quarter of 2009 and there is hope that it will last the whole current year. The 12% increase of the cost of gas has been cancelled and, all in all, the fulfillment of even these 2 points leads to a reduction of expenditures by 10-12 million UAH per month. Nominally the railway tariffs are frozen but transport workers are trying to introduce new tariff factors due to which the cost of raw material and metal transportation will increase by 12-14%.
The management of Zaporizhstal is trying to introduce state regulation of prices on raw material in the period of the crisis to balance the expenses of miners and metal producers. Adequately to the price of metal, only the prices on coke have reduced. Other suppliers-monopolists do not want to deprive themselves of super profits.
One more proposal of the metallurgists submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers is not to connect the cost of products of Ukrainian plants with the dollar, because the fluctuation of the foreign currency rate leads to an ungrounded increase of expenses.
One of the most important tasks today, underlined Yu.M. Kozakevich, is to reduce at most the consumption of gas. The price of gas has increased by $60. By the beginning of autumn a PCI unit will be constructed, which will allow the blast furnace workers to completely stop the usage of natural gas. But already today in shops, particularly in the open-hearth furnace shop, new installations are being tested, which allow to save gas. In those places where it is possible alternative heat carriers will be used.
Yuriy Mikhailovich answered questions. All those present were interested in the possible changes of the schedules on reducing labour expenditures and if the expenditures on social needs, stated in the collective agreement for 2009, will remain unchanged. Yu.M. Kozakevich stated that the Works is actually living in debt, i.e. why in the first quarter the reduction of labour expenditure will remain at the same level. Expenditures on resort accommodation cards will also decrease. In spite of that all the social paragraphs in the Works’ document will remain unchanged.