Tata Steel announces 1,050 job cuts in UK, blames it on China

By: |
London | January 18, 2016 8:35 PM

Grappling for survival, Tata Steel today announced it will cut 1,050 more jobs in the UK, including the country's biggest steel plant, as part of the Indian steel giant's broader cost-reduction plan for its business amid "unfair" steel imports from China.

Tata steelOver the last four decades, Tata steel has helped to regenerate local economies, including South Wales, with 88 million pounds of support and created more than 75,000 new jobs across the UK, the company said. (Express photo)

Grappling for survival, Tata Steel today announced it will cut 1,050 more jobs in the UK, including the country’s biggest steel plant, as part of the Indian steel giant’s broader cost-reduction plan for its business amid “unfair” steel imports from China.

Today’s “cost-saving” proposal comes over and above the October lay-off of 1,200 roles employed by Britain’s biggest steelmaker, that also appealed to the EU to take urgent action to check the imports in the country for a level-playing field.

This would mean the loss of 750 jobs at its Welsh Port Talbot-based Strip Products UK business which currently employs 4,000 workers and is the biggest steel plant in Britain in terms of workforce and output.

There will also be 200 job cuts in support functions at the unit and a further 100 jobs across its steel mills at Trostre in Wales, and Corby and Hartlepool in England.

The proposed changes follow continued falls in the European steel price caused by a flood of cheap imports, particularly from China, the company said.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “I know this news will be unsettling for all those affected, but these tough actions are critical in the face of extremely difficult market conditions which are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

“We need the European Commission to accelerate its response to unfairly traded imports and increase the robustness of its actions. Not doing so threatens the future of the entire European steel industry.

“And while we welcome progress on UK energy costs, the government must take urgent action to increase the competitiveness of the UK for its vital steel sector. This includes lowering business rates and supporting energy efficiency and anti-dumping cases so we can compete fairly.

“Tata Steel has been a hugely supportive investor, and has invested 1.5 billion pounds in its UK operations. We now need all stakeholders to do their utmost to meet the unprecedented challenges the steel sector is facing.”

A full consultation process with employee representatives will begin immediately.

“It is yet another chapter of the UK’s ongoing steel crisis and the lack of a proper government response,”

Community steel union said in a statement.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesperson at Downing Street said this marked a “worrying time for the workforce”.

Stuart Wilkie, director of Strip Products UK, said: “We have to accelerate the changes we announced last August, by lowering our costs at the same time as focusing on manufacturing higher-value products.

“These are urgent steps needed to give this business a chance of survival. We will work closely with affected employees and their trade union representatives. Retaining the right skills for the future will be critical, but we will look to minimise employee hardship and redeploy employees where possible.”

Tata Steel said its regeneration arm 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, including South Wales, with 88 million pounds of support and created more than 75,000 new jobs across the UK, the company said.

Tata Steel had announced 1,200 job cuts at its Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire plants in October last year.

It said in December that it was in talks with investment fund Greybull Capital to sell some of its European assets, involving its long products division.

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