Jobs To Be Cut At Tata Steel In Scunthorpe
20 October 2015, 10:17 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
Tata Steel's announced it's cutting 900 jobs at its plant in Scunthorpe.
There are currently around 4,000 people working in the steel industry in Scunthorpe - the biggest in the private sector in the area and supports thousands more in the region.
Rumours that jobs at the plant would go began on Friday, following a 'steel summit' held in Rotherham.
Steelworker Dave Cox opened a petition on the Government's website saying:
"If Scunthorpe steel works was to close its doors, Scunthorpe would be a ghost town.''
On Monday it already had more than 6,000 signatures and others had attracted thousands more.
North Lincolnshire Council has already set up a task force to deal with the fall-out from the job losses.
Scunthorpe is one of Tata's two integrated steel works in the UK. The other is at Port Talbot, in South Wales. This means it makes steel from the beginning of the process to a full range of finished products.
And Scunthorpe steel has featured in structures around the world.
Only recently, the plant announced it had supplied a million tonnes of rails for the UK's train network in one year.
In a statement, Tata Steel have told us:
"Restructure announced at Tata Steel's Long Products Europe business Tata Steel's Long Products Europe business today announced proposals to stop production of steel plate. This comes in response to a shift in market conditions caused by a flood of cheap imports, particularly from China, a strong pound and high electricity costs.
As a result, Tata Steel has been forced to make changes to its Long Products Europe business. The proposed changes would lead to around 1,200 job losses - about 900 in Scunthorpe and 270 in Scotland as well as a small number at other Long Products Europe sites.
Plate mills in Scunthorpe, Dalzell and Clydebridge would be mothballed while one of the two coke ovens at the Scunthorpe steelworks would be closed."
Karl Koehler, Chief Executive of Tata Steel's European operations, said:
"I realise how distressing this news will be for all those affected. We have looked at all other options before proposing these changes. "We will work closely with affected employees and their trade union representatives. We will look to redeploy employees, wherever possible, and minimise employee hardship.
"The UK steel industry is struggling for survival in the face of extremely challenging market conditions. This industry has a crucial role to play in rebalancing the UK economy, but we need a fairer system to encourage growth. The European Commission needs to do much more to deal with unfairly traded imports - inaction threatens the future of the entire European steel industry."
In the past two years, imports of steel plate into Europe have doubled and imports from China have quadrupled, causing steel prices to fall steeply. At the same time, a stronger pound has undermined the competitiveness of the business's Europe-bound exports, and encouraged more imports. In response, Tata Steel is concentrating on higher-value markets with a focus on developing stronger and lighter products for its customers.
Bimlendra Jha, Executive Chairman of the stand-alone Long Products Europe business, said:
"Today's proposals mark the next step in reshaping our business to give it the best chance of survival in this fiercely-competitive global marketplace. We are looking closely at the performance of all parts of Long Products Europe as part of a focus on returning to profitability."
The consultation process with Tata Steel employees and their trade union representatives begins today.
Tata Steel's subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise will look at how it can provide more support to the local communities affected by today's announcement and help stimulate new job creation in those areas.
Over the last four decades the company has helped to regenerate local economies with £88 million of support and created more than 75,000 new jobs across the UK.