Corus, Europe’s second largest steel maker, has announced that it will cut up to 2,500 UK jobs as part of a strategic review to reduce production in line with falling demand.
The Anglo-Dutch group said in October that it would cut production by 20 per cent in order to save around £600m in cash benefits in the six months to the end of March.
The latest set of measures will bring these plans forward and will place 3,500 jobs at risk from the 42,000 people the company currently employs.
Corus has confirmed that approximately 1,100 of these will be in south Wales, with 1,400 jobs to be cut in the rest of the UK.
In addition to changes to UK production, Corus is to sell its aluminium smelters in Germany and the Netherlands, which will see a further loss of 1,000 jobs.
Corus said it will be making every effort to achieve the job losses through voluntary redundancies in an attempt to reduce impact on its employees.
In a statement, the group announced it would be mothballing its Llanwern hot strip mill and restructuring its engineering steels into two businesses- a specialty steels business at Stocksbridge and a bar business at Rotherham with steel sourced from the integrated works at Scunthorpe.
In response to the cuts, Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite, said: ‘This announcement brings into focus the hardship that the UK’s manufacturing sector is facing. The steelmakers’ main markets – car production and construction – have been hit by the recession.
‘The UK’s manufacturing sector desperately needs support from our government.
‘We need a strategic support package from the government, similar to the support provided by the German, French and Swedish governments to their manufacturing sector, otherwise viable businesses will go to the wall because they cannot access credit.
‘We cannot afford to let a short-term problem deprive Britain of the skills we will depend on to compete in the world economy.’