Desperate bid to save 90 jobs at Tata Steel plant
Last updated at 12:47, Friday, 01 November 2013
Talks were due to take place today in a bid to save 90 jobs at Workington’s Tata Steel plant.
Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham and Allerdale council leader Alan Smith arranged to meet with company bosses this morning.
Tata Steel announced this week that it was restructuring its workforce and almost a third of its Workington staff could go.
The company has begun a 90-day redundancy consultation.
It is understood that most job losses will involve management and administrative roles.
A company spokesman said there were no plans to close any of its UK plants. Nearly 500 jobs are to be cut at its sites in Workington, Teesside and Scunthorpe.
Sir Tony said: “I wrote to the firm about six months ago to make sure everything was okay. I’m not sure if they lost the letter or it didn’t get to the right person, but I had no reply.
“I think they are embarrassed by that now and I am hopeful that we will be able to offer Tata Steel solutions other than losing staff.
“Steel is the lifeblood of Workington and there must be nuclear contracts in the pipeline that can be brought forward.
“We must do everything we can to help as the loss of 90 jobs would be a horrendous blow.”
The company said its proposal comes amid a prolonged downturn in demand, with the UK market for construction steel at half its 2007 level.
Councillor Smith, a former steel worker, said: “It’s really bad news. They are at the beginning of a 90-day consultation that is going to take us right through Christmas.
“There are 90 families in West Cumbria who are going to feel hardship.”
Representatives from Britain’s Energy Coast are also having meetings with Tata Steel.
Steven Szostak, chief executive of Britain’s Energy Coast, said that along with Allerdale council and others it was working with Tata Steel to mitigate the situation.
He said: “We are keen to ensure that any opportunities to improve the prospects of Tata in Workington are capitalised, helping Tata to build the solid business foundation they require.”
Michael Leahy, chairman of the UK Steel Unions’ Committee, said: “The news reflects the fragile state of our economy and the lack of any real impetus by Government to support our manufacturing base.”
Karl Koehler, chief executive officer of Tata’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.”
He said that they would engage fully with employees and unions and would support employees throughout.
Meanwhile, talks are going on at Indorama in Workington about the factory’s future.
A consultation was launched in August to find the best path forward for the plant, which makes polymer, because of Asian competition.
The 78-strong Siddick workforce faces an uncertain future after bosses said they were keeping options open.
Richard Jones, company head of investor relations and corporate communications, said he could not put a deadline on the process.
Comment – Page 10
First published at 12:43, Friday, 01 November 2013
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Sir Tony, should you not have followed up your letter? Do you write to people and think that is job done whether you have had a reply or not. I think Tata are not the only ones that should be embarrassed.
âSteel is the lifeblood of Workington" taken from the above clip.
Workington must of died 7 years age then when the Mossbay plant ceased production.
I feel for the guys in this situation as I was one of them that lost my job with the closure of Mossbay.