More than 2,000 jobs could be on the line after one of the UK’s largest steel plants missed a series of debt repayments, it has been reported.
Steel makers have been left reeling by soaring costs and falling demand and critics say ministers have not done enough to back the whole sector. Europe has introduced duties on certain categories of steel from some countries, including China, but they argue that more could be done by the United Kingdom to champion this approach and across products, pointing to the success of the US’s efforts in heading off the dumping of steel produce in their market.
And Anna Turley, the Labour MP for Redcar, has secured a three-hour debate about UKL steelmaking on Thursday and has repeated her call for government action on Teesside to tackle the “crisis”.
“In the short-term we need a clear indication from Government that it will honour its commitment to compensate steel and other energy-intensive industries from the cripplingly high cost of energy – and to do so earlier than April next year”.
Business Minister Anna Soubry insisted the Government was trying to help.
These factors threaten the future of the United Kingdom steel industry.
Thai-based SSI took over the former Tata Steel complex in Redcar after it was mothballed in 2010.
STEELMAKER SSI announced today that it has suspended production at its Redcar plant and begun redundancy talks with 150 workers.
But the plant has racked-up big losses amid a flood of cheap steel imports from China.
“This SSI plant is in a very precarious position as managers are awaiting a main board decision on its future”, GMB union’s national office Dave Hulse said.
There has been mounting concern about the site in recent months.
Cornelius Louwrens, United Kingdom business director and chief operating officer at SSI United Kingdom , said: “It is with great regret that we have had to make this announcement and we are deeply aware of the concern it will give to our employees and their families”. Around 1,000 contractors in the area would also be affected.
SSI United Kingdom declined to comment.
“Discussions will be held as soon as possible with our trade unions and employee representatives to clarify the effect the production pause will have on our employees”.
“The steel industry is of vital strategic importance to the United Kingdom economy, and the announcement today is another example of why urgent action from the Government to address high energy prices, unfair and anti-competitive practices from some global producers, as well as additional export and procurement support, is required immediately”.
Ovens and power stations on the site in Redcar are to continue to operate at a reduced level, but production at the south bank coke ovens will cease and the plant mothballed.
Gordon Harrison, 72, a retired steelworker, said: “Steel is such an important part of Teesside’s history – it would be bad if the steelworks closed down and everyone lost their jobs”.