Unions are fighting to save the 112 jobs at Templeborough rolling mill in Rotherham, which British Steel plans to close by the end of March next year.
The mill has been unprofitable for some time, said a British Steel statement last week. Large cost reductions and radical changes in working practices had failed to stem continuing losses, it said, and blamed the strong pound and the disruption to prices resulting from the Asian economic crisis.
AEEU national officer for steel Bob Shannon said: ‘We are seeking a meeting with British Steel through the group’s European Works Council and continue to try to save jobs at the plant.’
Workers at the mill, which is part of the steel group’s sections, plates and commercial steels division, are lobbying local MPs to help save their jobs.
Since April 1996, the division has lost up to 900 jobs, largely as a result of the group’s accelerated cost-cutting plan. The division includes the Shelton works, Nottinghamshire, which was threatened with closure two years ago because of the survival of Irish Steel, which makes the same product.
A strong order book has led to more work for Shelton however, and the closure threat had diminished.
Production at Templeborough is being switched to the group’s Scunthorpe site.