More steel jobs to go as Sheffield Forgemasters announces cuts

Up to 100 jobs will be cut at Sheffield Forgemasters, as the South Yorkshire company struggles to turn a profit in the increasingly difficult economic climate.

The announcement comes in the same week that Tata Steel revealed plans to cut 1,050 jobs. Since the summer, the UK steel workforce has been reduced by about 5,000. According to Tony Pedder, chairman of Sheffield Forgemasters, the cuts are a symptom of the wider troubles the industry is experiencing

(Credit: Skeeze via Creative Commons)
(Credit: Skeeze via Creative Commons)

“The storm clouds which seem to gather periodically over the steel and steel-related sectors are once again evident,” he said.

“Of particular concern has been reduced activity in the traditional oil and gas sector, with oil prices down to a level that is deferring much potential new investment.”

Founded in 1805, Forgemasters currently has nearly 800 staff. It supplies parts for the Vanguard-class submarines that carry the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent, as well as components for the global nuclear market. But British steel is under severe pressure through a combination of high energy prices and business rates, depressed oil prices and economic growth, and the alleged dumping of cheap steel from China.

“These significant job losses for the company highlight that there isn’t an area of steel that is off limits to the mix of extreme pressures the sector is facing,” said Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel.

“Government continues to claim that manufacturing is the backbone of the UK economy and it must therefore act to ensure no further highly skilled jobs are lost. Furthermore, it is deeply concerning that the new nuclear site, planned at Hinkley Point, will not be mandated to use British steel.”

Stace is calling for an immediate reduction of business rates for the steel industry to avoid further job losses, as well as a “concerted effort” by the government to address the issue of dumping.