AGI – The metalworking industry is “in an unprecedented crisis”: the data for the first eight months of 2020 are “dramatic” and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic does not bode well.
This is how the vice president and general manager of Federmeccanica, Fabio Astori and Stefano Franchi, commented on the 155th survey on the sector.
The metalworking production collapsed between January and August, by 19.8%. In the summer, the decline was contained (-8% in July and -1.1% in August, compared to -55% in April) and even if the result for the third quarter will be “significantly attenuated” (compared to -31.4 % of the second quarter), the forecast for the year is -15%.
The decreases of the eight months are widespread in almost all businesses with losses of 20.4% for Metal Products, 19.1% for Machines and mechanical devices and 34.7% for Motor Vehicles and trailers.
The The third quarter result will be “closely linked to the evolution of the pandemic“: what is certain – affirms Federmeccanica – is that it will not reach levels similar to the quarter of last year.
According to Franchi, “2020 will end badly, as never before: uncertainty dominates and this is a burden on our shoulders. Until the cloud of uncertainty has cleared it is unlikely that there will be a reversal of the trend “.
Metalworking companies live off exports and exports made it possible to withstand the crises of 2008 and 2012. Now the situation appears more worrying: in the first 7 months the exported turnover values fell by 16.7%.
This summer the companies saw “a negative situation but partially improving: now – explains the federation belonging to Confindustria – it will be necessary to see the evolution of the pandemic: “Everything will depend on what happens in the next few days”.
According to the survey, 39% of companies consider the order backlog negative; 27% expect a reduction in production volumes; 14% report a bad or very bad liquidity situation; 19% expect a reduction in employment levels.
L’occupation between January and July (given the prohibition on dismissal imposed by decree) it decreased by 1.4%, resulting from the non-reintegration of turnover and the non-renewal of fixed-term contracts. Expectations are however “strongly negative”. The total hours of layoffs they reached 665 million between January and July, with a + 718% change compared to 2019.
According to Franchi, “work is protected not by blocking redundancies”: the goal must rather be “to create work and feed demand, whoever has the levers to do so must do it. We must create job opportunities, quality”.
The general manager sent a message to the unions, who proclaimed a state of unrest and two days of strike after the interruption of the negotiations on the renewal of the contract: Federmeccanica is willing “at any time to reopen the discussion in a climate that is positive and constructive, if the union leaves the conflict to resume dialogue“.
“Federmeccanica believes in the importance of the national collective agreement – said Franchi – which must be a point of reference for everyone, but must be brought into reality”, a reality that is now “dramatic”. “All metalworking companies will suffer a loss in 2020. The commitment of all – he stressed – must therefore be to minimize the damage. This is the reality that everyone has to face today and into which everything must be reduced, including the national collective agreement “.
Finally, with respect to the health emergency, Federmeccanica has calculated that metalworking companies spend € 50.8 per month for each worker on the safety of workers and workplacesand (for masks, sanitation of premises, disinfectants, etc.). The one-off costs (for example Plexiglas protection barriers, for the spacing, for the material for the canteens, etc.) amount to 66.4 euros.