Troubled steelmaker SSI UK is mothballing its Teeside Iron and steelmaking facilities.
The decision to halt production at its plant in Redcar is expected to lead to the loss of around 1,700 jobs and, according to the company, was made in response to poor steel trading conditions and a worldwide deterioration of steel prices.
Cornelius Louwrens, UK business director and chief operating officer said: “This is an extremely sad day for all of us at SSI UK, and in particular our employees and their families. Together with our parent company and the various other stakeholders, they have worked so hard in their endeavours to try and make this business successful.”
Commenting on the announcement Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF said: “Any loss of the UK’s steel-making capability is a huge blow and has knock-on effects across the manufacturing supply chain.”
Scuoler called on the government to take immediate action to compensate steel and other energy intensive industries from the cripplingly high cost of energy. “Failure to do so would mark a tipping point for this vital industry which is the foundation of the success of so many other manufacturing sectors,” he said.
The GMB union also reacted angrily to the decision and echoed Scuoler’s call for government intervention.
“This is absolutely devastating news for the workers, their families and the economy for the community at Redcar,” said David Hulse, GMB National Officer. ”All that will be left operating will be the coke ovens unless the UK government steps in even at this stage. It is not too late for them to do so while the furnaces are still burning.”