EC plans aid for unemployed Spanish shipbuilding workers

euroflagAUGUST 9, 2012 — The European Commission proposes to provide €2 million from the European Globalization Adjustment Fund (EGF) to help 450 redundant workers in the shipbuilding ancillary industry in Galicia, Spain, back into employment. The funds, requested by the Spanish authorities, would help former workers from 35 small and medium sized enterprises. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for approval.

EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: "The crisis has transformed the shipbuilding sector and much of the industry is moving to low-cost areas, particularly in Asia. Workers in the shipbuilding sector and related industries have been hit especially hard so this proposal for €2 million euros from Europe's Globalization Fund aims to help them adapt their skills, find new jobs and build a new future."

Spain applied for support from the EGF concerning 878 redundancies from 35 manufacturers of fabricated metal products sector which operate in the shipbuilding ancillary industry in Galicia, a region in North-West Spain. Of the total 878 redundant workers, 450 workers facing the most difficulty in finding new jobs are targeted for assistance from the EGF. The package aims to help the workers by offering them occupational guidance and guidance towards business creation or self-employment; various types of training and retraining and on the-job-training; accompanying measures such as job-search assistance and tutoring after reintegration into work, as well as job-search allowance and other incentives.

The total estimated cost of the package is approximately €3 million, to which the EGF would provide €2 million.

Order books at European shipyards have fallen both in terms of tonnage and value. The European order book dropped by 30 percent between 2008 and 2009, and a further 32.5% in 2010 compared with the previous year. In September 2011 the order book stood at 5.95 million CGT (6.9 percent less than in 2010). The shipbuilding workforce in Europe has declined by 23 percent over the past three years, from 148,792 workers in 2007 to 114,491 in 2010.

Shipbuilding in Spain has followed the same negative trend. In September 2011 Spanish orderbooks had decline by 73.18 percent compared with 2008. In Galicia, the shipbuilding workforce has declined by 30 percent over the past three years, from 10,000 workers (3,500 direct jobs and 6,500 jobs in the ancillary industry) at the end of 2008 to 7,000 in October 2011.

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