The CIG, a prominent union in Galicia representing worker rights, has been in talks with Alcoa to ensure job security and uphold production standards. Alcoa’s plant in San Cibrao, A Mariña, is pivotal in the aluminum production landscape. The company had earlier shut down its electrolysis tanks and has now temporarily halted operations in the smelting section, which remained the only active department.
Yesterday, the CIG claimed that Alcoa unilaterally halted the operation of their smelting furnaces. They assert this violates the February 6, 2023, agreement. This agreement stipulated that Alcoa would maximize its billet production rate and maintain the production of specific alloys for strategic sectors like pharmaceuticals and food. After the cessation of electrolysis, billet production had spiked, but the CIG reports that production had since plummeted to 60% by the next year. The union is deeply concerned about Alcoa’s unpredictability and the lack of governmental oversight.
Alcoa’s Context and Response:
Alcoa emphasized that this temporary halt in smelting operations will not impact the employment at the plant nor the pledged investments. They cite that the foundry has used up all its inventory and has had to halt due to challenging market conditions characterized by high energy costs and a dearth of customer orders. While the company has hopes of resuming operations if market conditions improve, the future remains uncertain. Alcoa has been consistent in its stance that it is meeting its commitments despite these market challenges.
Alcoa’s plant in San Cibrao has been integral in producing aluminum plates for rolled products and specific alloys. In 2022, the company had voiced plans to augment the production capacity in this department by adding a new furnace and casting tables. However, the CIG contends that production has drastically reduced. With the latest halt, the plant’s future hangs in the balance, especially with the looming deadline for reactivating the factory and ensuring job security. Currently, the alumina plant is only producing at 50% capacity, primarily due to rising gas prices.