Ravne na Koroškem, 8 September 2023 – At a ceremony held at SIJ Metal Ravne, the SIJ Group and its companies in Koroška presented donations totalling just over EUR 40,000 to the Koroška Fire Brigade, the Ravne Wind Orchestra and the municipalities of Ravne na Koroškem and Črna na Koroškem for various projects in the aftermath of the recent devastating floods. Special awards of appreciation were presented to employees who, with their self-sacrifice and courage, prevented flooding in the ZGO area and helped fellow local residents and colleagues in dealing with the aftermath of the recent devastating floods. The first instalment of solidarity aid will be paid out to employees together with their August wages.
Employees who showed exceptional commitment during the floods by helping to prevent major flood damage and selflessly assisting their fellow countrymen and colleagues in dealing with the consequences of the floods were presented with special awards of appreciation for their self-sacrifice by Tibor Šimonka, Senior Vice-President of the SIJ Group, Jernej Močnik, Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne, and Matjaž Hudopisk, Technical Director of SIJ Ravne Systems, who expressed their deep appreciation for the extraordinary efforts made by SIJ employees. They are characterised by selfless dedication, great courage and unwavering resolve.
Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne, Jernej Močnik, was proud of his colleagues: "Just when it seemed we would not be able to tame the elements, you took control of the situation with determination and courage. The way you and your teams have risen to the daily challenges posed by the impact of this natural disaster demonstrates a dedication, professionalism and mind of steel that few possess." Marko Kralj, Energy Manager at SIJ Ravne Systems, also possesses the same spirit, and didn’t hesitate to come forward to help: "I turned on the radio, looked at my phone. I shuddered. Koroška is under water and it’s still raining. I thought to myself: People need help. As a former mountain rescue worker, mountain guide and cycling enthusiast, I knew I would find a way to reach those affected. I managed to get to the plant by forest roads through Kope and Kremžarjev vrh. We quickly organised ourselves and rushed to the aid of our colleagues and friends carrying the first shipment of tools and clean water."
At the event, donations totalling just over EUR 40,000 were handed over to organisations in the local community. The Koroška Fire Brigade and volunteer fire brigades from Ravne, Prevalje, Črna, Mežica and Dravograd received funding to buy new firefighting equipment: "It is true that we were only doing our job, but without commitment, without a sense of belonging to the local area and without our hearts being in the right place, I believe the consequences of the floods would have been much greater. We are honoured that you, our business partners have also recognised that we care, and that your generous gesture confirms that we are doing our job well," said Dejan Salčnik, Director of the Koroška Firefighters' Association (GZRK), expressing his gratitude on receiving the donation for the equipment.
SIJ ZIP center will produce new furnishings for the Ravne Ironworkers’ Wind Orchestra's music centre, which suffered extensive damage in the August floods, destroying almost all of their equipment. "Your donation gives hope and supports the restoration of the music centre. It means we are one step closer to being able to play again and bring music into people's hearts," said the orchestra's president, Božo Hudopisk, expressing his gratitude and optimism. As is traditional for special occasions organised by SIJ Group companies in Koroška, the event was accompanied by the majestic sounds of the Ravne Ironworkers’ Wind Orchestra.
The municipality of Ravne na Koroškem will use the funds to restore the castle grounds damaged by the July storms: "We are pleased that the companies of the SIJ Group in Ravne have acknowledged the impacts of the natural disaster and the plight of the community, and have demonstrated their commitment and responsibility to the local and regional community through their attitude and proactive approach to addressing these challenges," emphasised Dr Tomaž Rožen, Mayor of the Municipality of Ravne na Koroškem, in his message of thanks. The municipality of Črna na Koroškem benefited from the renovation of the foundations of a steel street workout park, which was donated by the SIJ Group at the end of last year but was damaged by floods. Romana Lesjak, Mayor of the Municipality of Črna na Koroškem, the municipality most affected by the floods in Koroška, beautifully expressed how big the hearts of the people of Koroška are: "Thanks also to the firefighters and the employees of the SIJ companies in Ravne for coming to the rescue. Every helping hand was very much appreciated in the face of this natural disaster. We have demonstrated that we can stand together and have shown the importance of solidarity in moments like these."
In addition to community support in the form of donations, SIJ Group companies in Koroška have already handled 85 applications to help employees in dealing with the consequences of the floods. Twenty-one employees will receive a first tranche of solidarity aid worth EUR 2,500 when their August salaries are paid, but in the next stage, depending on the extent of the damage suffered by the employees, the circumstances for a second tranche of up to EUR 10,000 will also be examined. This is also the maximum amount of tax-free solidarity aid that can be granted under the amended Disaster Relief Act.
Employees who suffered damage in the floods but are not eligible for solidarity aid because the damage is either less than EUR 5,000 or did not occur at their home will receive humanitarian aid in cooperation with the Slovenj Gradec Lions Club. The humanitarian account was used to collect special donations from individuals and SIJ Group companies, which had otherwise been earmarked for the purchase of corporate gifts and for organising events. SIJ Group staff affected by the floods can still receive free psychological support.
"We make it a priority in the SIJ Group to stand by our fellow workers – with the solidarity aid, humanitarian aid and free psychological support – because facing the consequences of such a major natural disaster often awakens very deep emotions, distress and feelings of insecurity in a person. We also want to show our support to the local community by making donations. These donations demonstrate how strong the steel bonds between us are, and because of this we can overcome great challenges together," said Tibor Šimonka, Senior Vice-President of the SIJ Group, summing up the events.
SIJ – Slovenian Steel Group is one of the leading producers of stainless steel and special steels in Europe. We are committed to global and European climate goals and operate in line with circular economy principles. With our steel and steel products, we are the right partner for facilitating the green transition in Europe. We aim to confirm our sustainability credentials by achieving certification to the stringent ResponsibleSteel standard by the end of 2023. This will position us as one of the most responsible and sustainable steel producers in the world. Our two largest companies are modern recycling steelworks, and our steel is recycled because it is made from steel scrap. With more than 3,800 employees, we are one of the largest employers in Slovenia and a pillar of the Slovenian steel sector. We are one of Slovenia's leading exporters. About 85% of our revenue is generated in foreign markets.
SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications
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