Tata Steel announces 1,200 job cuts in UK

Scunthorpe Steel plant

Tata Steel has announced nearly 900 job cuts at its plants in Scunthorpe and 270 in Scotland. Asian Lite reports

Scunthorpe Steel plant
Scunthorpe Steel plant

Nine hundred jobs will be lost at the firm’s plant in Scunthorpe. The remaining 270 jobs will go in Scotland.

They are the latest in a series of job losses across the UK steel sector, following news that administrators have been appointed to see parts of  Capro Industries steel operations, reports BBC news.

The industry blames cheap Chinese imports for a collapse in steel prices.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will raise the issue with China’s president during his UK state visit .

Jobs going at Tata Steel are in part of a division that the company failed to sell earlier this year. Buffeted by collapsing prices and the strong pound, Indian-owned Tata has decided to cut back its UK operations, says BBC report.

Tata’s steel plant in Scunthorpe, which employs 4,000 people, is one of the largest in the UK. But two mills in Lanarkshire are also affected raising concerns about the future of the industry in Scotland, BBC news adds.

The plants under threat are the Dalzell plate rolling works in Motherwell, which opened in 1872, and Clydebridge, in Cambuslang, which has been operating since 1887.

The plants became two of the giants of Scottish industry, with Clydebridge providing steel plates which were formed into many of the most famous ships built on the River Clyde.

Business Secretary Sajid Javed
Business Secretary Sajid Javed

told the House of Commons there was “no straightforward solution to the complex global challenges facing the steel industry”. But he added the government had “no intention of standing by”.

“Today was an important opportunity to bring the key players together and we now have a framework of action,” he said.

The business secretary said the government had already promised £80m to help those affected by steel plant closures and had set up a task force to look at how to help the UK steel industry and its workers.

“We are taking steps to ensure there is a future for the UK’s steel industry,” he said.

But he pointed out there was a global steel surplus which was pushing prices down, adding there there were limits to what the government could do in response and that no government could dictate the price of steel or foreign exchange rates.

He said the government was committed to major infrastructure projects and he was “determined that the UK steel industry should play its role in its delivery”.

In the 1970s, more than 200,000 people were employed in the UK steel sector, but the number now stands at just 30,000. Unions say that one in six of those jobs is now under threat.

John Park, assistant general secretary of trade union Community, told BBC news: “Our immediate thoughts are with the workers and their families who will be affected by this announcement.

“Community representatives will be looking to sit down with the company, to understand the detail and to look at all alternatives that save jobs and uphold our principle of no compulsory redundancies. We will also be putting in place advice and support for our members who are affected.

“The government should hang its head in shame at today’s news. The cruel irony of the prime minister welcoming the Chinese premier as UK steel jobs are cut, partly due to Chinese steel dumping, will not be lost on the UK’s steelworkers and their communities.”