Leaders of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation and the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union meet today to discuss ways of forming a national multi-union agreement in response to British Steel’s accelerated cost cutting.
British Steel said it would speed up its annual job cuts of around 1,000 employees over the next five years to counter losses incurred as a result of the strong pound. This has sparked fears of up to 10,000 job losses.
The unions, which represent about 90% of the company’s 43,000 workers, are consulting members about more teamworking and better use of information technology. Unions hope to have the basis of a national multi-union agreement by early next month.
British Steel has given no specific figures on potential job cuts, but says all its main steelmaking plants – at Port Talbot, Llanwern, Teesside, Scunthorpe, Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Sheffield – will stay open.
The future of 13 main downstream sites and stockholding operations is less certain. Bob Shannon, national officer of the AEEU, said the rate and location of job cuts would be linked to new technology, which brings a decline in manning levels.