Tata Steel UK is to shed 1,050 jobs following on-going falls in the European steel price caused by cheap imports, particularly from China.
The proposed job losses would see 750 positions go at the company’s Port Talbot-based Strip Products UK business, 200 jobs in support functions, and a further 100 jobs at steel mills in Trostre, Wales; Corby, Northants; and Hartlepool, County Durham.
On October 20, 2015 the company said is was closing plants in Lincolnshire and Scotland with the loss of 1,200 jobs because of cheap imports, a strong pound and high electricity costs.
Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “These tough actions are critical in the face of extremely difficult market conditions which are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
“We need the European Commission to accelerate its response to unfairly traded imports and increase the robustness of its actions. Not doing so threatens the future of the entire European steel industry. And while we welcome progress on UK energy costs, the government must take urgent action to increase the competitiveness of the UK for its vital steel sector. This includes lowering business rates and supporting energy efficiency and anti-dumping cases so we can compete fairly.
“Tata Steel has been a hugely supportive investor, and has invested £1.5bn in its UK operations. We now need all stakeholders to do their utmost to meet the unprecedented challenges the steel sector is facing.”
In October 2015 Tata Steel said that imports of steel plate into Europe had doubled and that imports from China quadrupled, causing a steep drop in steel prices.
“The job cuts reinforce everything we have been saying about the importance of swift action by all involved to tackle the problems facing our steel industry,” said Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel. “We have been dealing for some time with a toxic cocktail of conditions, from Chinese dumping of steel to the high cost of energy, and have warned that a strong and rapid response in the UK and, in Brussels, is required.
“The whole industry needs to be reassured that ministers and officials – in Westminster and in Cardiff – are doing everything possible to support the future of steel production. The government’s review of business rates could significantly reduce the multi-million-pound bill the plant has to pay while ministers should also consider offering grants that would help the site improve its long term sustainability. The government needs to be creative, co-operative and fleet of foot to make sure every possible option for support is considered.”
UK Steel Enterprise – Tata Steel’s regeneration arm – will look at how it can support the local communities affected by today’s announcement and help stimulate new job creation. Over the last four decades the company has helped to regenerate local economies, including South Wales, with £88m of support and created more than 75,000 new jobs.