Friday, July 10, 2009

366 more jobs to go in Corus' Scunthorpe plant

S Kalyana Ramanathan / London July 10, 2009

These are in addition to the 500 job cuts announced last month

Corus Group, Europe’s second-largest steel maker and a subsidiary of Tata Steel, today announced an additional 366 job cuts at its North East plant at Scunthorpe. A spokesperson clarified that these were in addition to the 500 white-collar job losses announced for this plant last month.

In a statement issued today, Corus said 366 jobs have been identified as being at risk as part of its proposals to improve the competitiveness of this unit by aligning employment costs with anticipated steel demand. “Consultations with employees and their representatives have begun on the Scunthorpe site today. Wherever possible the company will seek voluntary redundancies, while at the same time ensuring that critical skills are retained. Support packages will be available to those leaving the company,” the company said.

Just two weeks earlier, Tata Steel, as part of its 2008-09 financial statement, had said 2,000 jobs were at risk, that included 500 white collar job losses through Corus’ Long Products division, the majority of which could be at Scunthorpe.

Reacting to today’s announcement, John Wilson, senior officer of the GMB labour union, said: "With this further announcement, there is an even greater need for urgency from the government to secure this bedrock manufacturing industry and reassure the local community.”

Scunthorpe Telegraph, a regional newspaper, quoting Scunthorpe Corus steelworks’ director Sean Lyons said, "We have been working hard with the trade unions to come up with a cost-saving solution that would have avoided job reductions and a proposal was put to Scunthorpe employees in May. Unfortunately, union representatives decided that they were unable to ballot their members on the cost saving proposal. We have had to take this urgent action to align our employment costs to current and forecast demand for our products. Wherever possible we will seek to utilise volunteers, but we must ensure that the capability of plants or departments is not jeopardised.”

With its main steel-making operations primarily in the UK and the Netherlands, Corus supplies steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, mechanical engineering and other markets worldwide. tata acquired Corus in 2007, making the latter one of the top 10 steel producers in the world.

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