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29 October 2013, 16:46
40 jobs could be cut at Tata Steel on Teesside as part of wider cuts at their steel plants around the country.
Up to 500 jobs in total are set to be axed at three steel factories because of weak demand in the construction industry.
Tata Steel said the cuts will affect mainly management and administrative roles at sites in Scunthorpe, Teesside and Workington.
About 340 jobs could be affected in Scunthorpe, 90 in Workington and 40 in Teesside.
Tata said the planned cuts were being made amid a prolonged downturn in demand for some of the key products made by the Scunthorpe-based Long Products business, including the UK market for construction steel, which is about half of 2007 levels.
Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel's European operations, said:
"European steel demand this year is expected to be only two-thirds of pre-crisis levels after falls in the past two years.
On top of the challenging economic conditions, rules covering energy and the environment in Europe and the UK threaten to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry.
As difficult as the proposed changes are, they are intended to build a stronger future by enabling the Long Products business to compete in even the current challenging economic and regulatory conditions.
We will of course engage fully with employees, trade unions and our political stakeholders during this restructuring process. We will do everything we can to support our employees through this unsettling time.''
The company said it will make every effort to achieve the job losses through voluntary redundancies, adding that a comprehensive range of redundancy packages and outplacement support services will be made available to those who leave.
Michael Leahy, general secretary of the Community union, said:
"We are obviously very concerned to hear this news and are doing all we can to support those affected by the announcement.
We recognise the business has been dealing with a downturn in some of its markets for the past five years. Nevertheless, today's news once again reflects the fragile state of our economy and the lack of any real impetus by government to support our manufacturing base.
Community is seeking an urgent meeting with the company to get their agreement to extending the consultation period to allow for all alternatives to be explored and also to reiterate Community's opposition to any compulsory redundancy.''