Procedure : 2016/2891(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-1057/2016

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PV 05/10/2016 - 8.6
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Texts adopted :

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to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the need for a European reindustrialisation policy in light of the recent Caterpillar and Alstom cases (2016/2891(RSP))

David Borrelli, Laura Agea, Rolandas Paksas on behalf of the EFDD Group

European Parliament resolution on the need for a European reindustrialisation policy in light of the recent Caterpillar and Alstom cases (2016/2891(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2014 on the employment and social aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring(2),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, and in particular Articles 22 and 23 thereof on economic and social rights and the right to work,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Chapter IV thereof on solidarity,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and in particular Articles 6 and 147 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which requires both the Member States and the EU to ensure the competitiveness of European industry, and in particular Article 173 thereof,

–  having regard to Article 174 TFEU on economic, social and territorial cohesion, in particular in areas affected by industrial transition,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the steel industry and on the restructuring, transfer and closure of companies in the EU,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2014 on the Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable steel industry in Europe(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2014 on reindustrialising Europe to promote competitiveness and sustainability(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 21 May 2013 on regional strategies for industrial areas in the European Union(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2012 on a roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050(6),

–  having regard to Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies(7),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(8),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community(9),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 31 March 2005 entitled ‘Restructuring and employment: Anticipating and accompanying restructuring in order to develop employment: the role of the European Union’ (COM(2005)0120) and the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 14 December 2005(10),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 October 2012 entitled ‘A Stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery’ (COM (2012)0582),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 June 2013 entitled ‘Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable steel industry in Europe’ (COM (2013)0407),

–  having regard to the recommendations of 12 February 2013 of the High-Level Round Table on the future of the European steel industry,

–  having regard to the Competitiveness Council meeting of 18-19 February 2013, which urged the Commission to present an action plan,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the closure of its Belgian headquarters in Gosselies in April 2017, announced by Caterpillar on 2 September 2016, will leave more than 2 000 people out of work in connection with the global restructuring and cost cutting plan announced in September 2015, extend the collateral damage to the company’s chain of supply, and could bring the overall loss of jobs to more than 5 000 in the EU and up to 10 000 worldwide in the coming years;

B.  whereas Caterpillar has announced that it is also considering closing its Northern Ireland facility as part of business restructuring in that country, which could result in the additional loss of up to 250 jobs;

C.  whereas the company increased its payment of dividends to shareholders by 50% between 2009 and 2015, while reducing jobs by 15%; whereas, with sales and revenue of USD 47 billion in 2015, it is currently the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives;

D.  whereas the French group Alstom announced on 7 September 2016 its intention to stop industrial production at Belfort, in the Franche Comté region, by 2018 and to transfer its train production activities to another site located in Reichshoffen, Alsace, since the current level of orders for locomotives for freight and high-speed trains assembled in Belfort does not, in the company’s opinion, justify keeping the factory open; whereas this a decision would result in the loss of 400 jobs;

E.  whereas the company released a statement in May 2016 declaring an increase of 23% in their adjusted earnings before interest and taxes for the fiscal year through March 2016;

F.  whereas the European industrial sector has played a historically significant role in the European integration process, and the prosperity and knowledge it has brought has given very important meaning to, and provided justification for, the European project;

G.  whereas the share of direct industrial employment has sadly declined steadily across Europe from about one fifth of the active population in 2000 to one sixth in 2015;

H.  whereas the European rail supply industry (RSI), with its high density of SMEs, maintains 400 000 jobs, reinvests 2.7 % of its annual turnover in R&D and accounts for 46 % of the world RSI market;

I.  whereas the railway sector overall accounts for more than 1 million direct and 1.2 million indirect jobs in the EU, in addition to providing essential technology to ensure sustainable mobility;

J.  whereas the intensification of international trade, while running in parallel to an unprecedented reduction in industrial employment in the European Union, has not brought a reduction in materials consumption, but rather a surge in imports of energy-intensive products;

K.  whereas in recent decades, on average across the industrial sector, labour productivity has developed much faster than resource productivity, with estimates showing that labour accounts for under 20 % of production costs and resources make up 40 %; whereas, even so, wage increases in the European Union have consistently lagged behind productivity increases;

L.  whereas the more advanced and sustainable part of the steel sector, which produces high-value technological products, respects the health of workers and surrounding populations and guarantees strict environmental standards, plays an important role for the European industrial strategy;

M.  whereas stability-oriented austerity measures are hampering the whole European economy, further compounding the deep social hardship for workers and regions affected by industrial closures; whereas high unemployment rates in the EU correlate with its shrinking industrial and manufacturing production base, resulting from uneven globalisation;

N.  whereas non-strategic relocations within the EU, which are solely dictated by short-term financial returns and cost-cutting considerations, lead to a downward social spiral, destroy systemic value and are incompatible with any form of effective industrial policy, cohesion, innovation and development;

O.  whereas companies involved in restructuring or downsizing have a responsibility to put social dialogue at the heart of the corresponding processes and should act in a socially responsible manner, as experience has repeatedly shown that socially and economically sustainable restructuring/downsizing is never achieved without sufficient social dialogue, with a special focus on informing and consulting workers, maximising social aid to facilitate their transition, and offering extensive outplacement, training and re-skilling services;

P.  whereas multiple sectors of the European industry are facing an investment crisis which is endangering their future, while at the same time sustainable steel materials, resulting from production processes which respect strict environmental and health standards, are expected to play a crucial role as base materials in providing equally sustainable industrial solutions for urbanisation and mobility, among other strategic priorities;

Q.  whereas differences between insolvency regimes both within and outside the EU lead to loopholes that are used by multinationals to minimise their costs when restructuring/downsizing, while maximizing the societal cost of their relocation decisions through the transfer of assets from one country to another, these decisions often being taken on the basis of opportunistic criteria; whereas this unfair transfer of externalities to entire societies is intensifying the negative effect of other social and environmental negative externalities, and of differences in fiscal regimes which gravely distort the internal market;

R.  whereas the buy-out and self-management of ailing companies by employees and workers has often provided creative and viable solutions to insolvency proceedings by maintaining activity, investment, know-how and jobs;

1.  Expresses its strong solidarity with the thousands of workers who risk losing their job, with their families, with all industrial and service operators in the supply chain, especially SMEs, and with all those who are directly affected;

2.  Underlines that industrial restructuring plans should not be exclusively assessed from a short-term, owners-only perspective, but should take into consideration their systemic effects on European society and the economy as a whole, including compliance with environmental and health standards;

3.  Denounces the continuing dismantlement of strategic sectors of European industry and calls for the collective development of alternative policies, agreed with all social partners, that contribute to the major European objectives of reindustrialisation, a circular economy and energy transition, while complying with strict environmental and health standards;

4.  Urges the Member States to ensure adequate and thorough social protection, working conditions and decent wages, by means either of law or collective agreements, as well as effective protection against unfair dismissal;

5.  Regrets the absence of a real EU industrial policy that could protect EU workers and supply chains from short-term speculative decisions often taken on other continents; calls for an EU industrial policy that allows public participation in strategic industries in order to maintain the corresponding know-how, production and jobs in the European Union;

6.  Highlights that no successful industrial policy can be designed, much less implemented, without a critical review of ‘business-as-usual’ international trade agreements;

7.  Demands the urgent adoption of social measures to help workers, their families, supply chains and the local economy in the affected areas, thus guaranteeing that nobody is left behind, and to assist and support the affected regions in overcoming this difficult economic and social situation;

8.  Calls on the Commission to take into account the need to introduce a European minimum income scheme in order to deal with the social emergency that has been triggered by globalisation, delocalisation and deindustrialisation;

9.  Emphasises the importance of the skills and qualifications of workers in the base-metal sector and related industries; calls for active employment and industrial policies that ensure that this knowledge is developed and recognised as an important asset of the European base-metal industry; asks that the maintenance of industrial know-how and a skilled workforce be considered in assessing the viability of production in any particular plant;

10.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a European framework for insolvency proceedings that puts not only creditors, but all stakeholders, particularly workers, at the centre of the process, focusing on preserving as many jobs as possible; calls to this end for instruments such as employee buyouts and worker self-management to be facilitated in order to keep factories in production despite the insolvency of their original owners;

11.  Calls for a revision of competition policy and state aid rules with a view to facilitating public intervention aimed at maintaining social and regional cohesion, improving labour and environmental standards and addressing public health concerns;

12.  Calls for a critical review of the financial steps leading to the current crisis affecting the Caterpillar group, including declared profits and dividends paid to shareholders and interest paid to banks and creditors, as well as a review of the austerity policies pursued in Europe that have reduced overall economic activity and, as a consequence, have decreased demand for private and public operators;

13.  Denounces the fact that without effective country-by-country reporting, transnational companies can transfer profits while declaring losses and even insolvency in another country; calls for an extension of country-by-country reporting obligations to all jurisdictions, as well as for reinforced information obligations for companies that close or downsize factories or declare insolvency in any Member State;

14.  Urges the Member States to recover the resources previously dedicated to supporting companies, on the assumption that these companies would plan strategically for a long-term industrial presence, in the form of subsidies, tax advantages of any kind, land price reductions, etc. when a company decides unilaterally to relocate, downsize or close its production plants;

15.  Recalls that the potential aid granted by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) cannot be used to facilitate the departure from an industrial site and insists that the EGF be used instead to help employees and workers recover their company in order to maintain activity, know-how and jobs;

16.  Regrets that the EFSI was proposed as an opportunity to foster investment, because it was unable to support SMEs and their small-scope projects, but instead favoured major infrastructure projects which do not have the ability to generate long-term employment;

17.  Recommends that European funds be used to subsidise the distinctiveness of both SMEs and micro-enterprises;

18.  Stresses the need to deploy the EGF even when enterprises that shut down as a consequence of globalisation patterns have less than 500 redundancies, because the European manufacturing base is mostly composed of enterprises with less than 500 workers;

19.  Calls for both the EU and its Member States to ensure that adequate financial funding is available for out-placement, including support for employees and workers who plan to launch their own start-ups, and for training, re-skilling and recovery actions to support critical transition periods in European industry;

20.  Calls for an overhauled European industrial and social policy that is no longer based on questionable social, fiscal and environmental practices, and urges the Commission to tackle the large-scale and far-reaching negative consequences that arise from delocalisation towards third countries, including by means of a revision of competition rules, in order to strongly discourage delocalisation processes and to avoid worsening the effects of the crisis;

21.  Emphasises that restricting demand must not lead to unfair competition for jobs among the Member States; calls, therefore, for the development of long-term solutions that safeguard and create good jobs and industrial activity in Europe’s regions, in strict compliance with non-negotiable environmental and health standards and paying special attention to SMEs;

22.  Stresses the need to free public investment in strategic sectors of European industry from the constraints of a balanced budget, under the precondition of strict compliance with non-negotiable environmental and health standards, in order to maintain and even generate employment within those industrial sectors that have been particularly affected by globalisation, delocalisation and deindustrialisation;

23.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to subsidise public investment in R&D and technology, under the precondition of strict compliance with non-negotiable environmental and health standards, in order to support skills and know-how, which is a fundamental premise for increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of strategic sectors;

24.  Asks for both the European Union and its Member States:

•  to find ways of protecting the jobs currently at risk, under the precondition of strict compliance with non-negotiable environmental and health standards, by all means available, including by spreading their production over different plants meeting the same prerequisites and limiting shareholders’ dividends;

•  to ensure transparency in financial transfers from the European subsidiaries to the parent company outside the EU, especially when located in tax havens;

•  to assess whether sanctions should be implemented against industrial companies that force restructuring or downsizing plans on their host countries without previously exhausting all alternative paths, including extensive dialogue with all social partners;

25.  Stresses that EU standards of corporate social responsibility must be strenuously defended when a company intends to re-localise its production without paying heed to the social and territorial consequences of its short-term decisions;

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ C 289, 9.8.2016, p. 19.


OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 23.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0069.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0032.


OJ C 55, 12.2.2016, p. 6.


OJ C 251E, 31.8.2013, p. 75.


OJ L 225, 12.8.1998, p. 16.


OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.


OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, p. 29.


OJ C 65, 17.3.2006, p. 58.

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