S Kalyana Ramanathan / London January 17, 2010
Plant management, union agree to continue operations for at least three weeks beyond the end of January.
The Tata Steel-owned Corus Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant, scheduled to be mothballed by the end of January, will be run till the end of February or till the raw material on the site has been used completely, whichever comes first.
A statement by the plant’s management and the union said: “Corus will place internal orders on TCP in order to give at least three weeks of continued operation beyond the end of January. During this time, the unions and Corus will jointly explore further opportunities to continue steel-making on Teesside.”
Community Union General Secretary Michael J Leahy said: “These additional weeks will provide valuable time to find an alternative future for steel-making on Teesside. Tata-Corus needs to be open-minded to all possibilities as the future of an entire community depends on its actions in the coming weeks.”
The Community Union said it was considering an industrial solution for securing the future of the plant, which the steel maker wants to partially shut. “Our focus is on Tata-Corus — this is an industrial problem. If Tata-Corus does not start talking honestly about alternatives, we may seek an industrial solution,” Leahy said.
In May 2009, a consortium of four buyers withdrew from a 10-year buying contract with Corus, forcing the steel company to consider the option of mothballing the plant. The contract, which was to end in 2014, would have kept the plant running at 80 per cent capacity during its tenure.
In December, just days before Christmas, Corus announced that it was running out of options and would mothball the plant by the end of January, 2010. The unions, after negotiating with the management, have bought additional three weeks to run this plant until all raw material (mostly iron ore) on the site is exhausted.