Thursday, November 12, 2015

News: Tata to confirm Rotherham job loss figure

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A confirmation is expected soon on the 720 jobs that are at risk - including 500 in Rotherham - as Tata Steel works through proposals to restructure its speciality and bar business.

In July, the Indian-owned steelmaker announced proposals for the next stage in its plans to refocus its speciality and bar business on high-value markets such as aerospace which included changes that would result in a reduction in employee numbers, mainly at its Rotherham-based bar business.

Tata said that the bar business in Rotherham has been "underperforming in the face of commodity-grade steel being imported to the UK due to the strong pound and high electricity costs which are more than double those of key European competitors."

The Community Union met with Tata Steel reps in Scunthorpe and Rotherham last week to talk about the ongoing consultations. The company recently confirmed proposals affecting 1,200 jobs, mainly in Scunthorpe and Scotland. Union branch meetings have been taking place in Rotherham to discuss the union's response to the company's position on the restructuring.

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John Healey MP, whose constituency includes Tata's Aldwarke site, has called on the Government to give extensive support to Rotherham and has demanded the Chancellor announce action to help the steel industry this month. He believes that the company is expected to confirm the final number of jobs losses in South Yorkshire soon.

The MP has written to the Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid, and Dr Karl Kohler, CEO and managing director of Tata Europe. He said: "With the UK steel industry in crisis, it is inevitable that several hundred employees will be affected – and considerably more in the local supply chain.

"There is no doubt the situation in Rotherham is severe and justifies the same taskforce approach as that being put in place in Scunthorpe in response to the 900 redundancies.

"It also needs the same national funding as provided for Scunthorpe – to quickly support job creation, start-up businesses, companies looking to expand and re-training for affected employees."

Up to £9m of support from the government and Tata has been announced to support Scunthorpe steel workers and the local economy.

Mr Healey added: "Rotherham will be the next big announcement of job losses in this steel crisis that has also hit Redcar, Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire. The government have simply failed to give steel the support it needs, despite repeated calls from steel town MPs and the industry.

"We need to see the Chancellor announce in his Autumn Statement that the government will begin to back the UK steel industry – before it's too late.

"I still hope Tata will reduce the redundancies in Rotherham they announced in July but it seems inevitable that hundreds of jobs will go. This will be devastating to Rotherham.

"And if our fears are confirmed, then we need the government and Tata to step in and give the same support to Rotherham as they did in Scunthorpe."

Images: John Healey MP

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