Tata Steel is proposing to cut 900 jobs across the UK, it announced today.
It will also see the creation of six regional hubs and the closure of 12 sites, including Tafarnaubach and Cross Keys in South Wales.
The steel giant revealed the plans as part of a restructuring to “improve competitiveness of its UK operations so they can successfully perform in changing markets”.
The move follows restructuring at the company’s other production hubs in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, and IJmuiden in the Netherlands.
However, the company expects to restart Blast Furnace 4 – one of two blast furnaces in Port Talbot, South Wales – as part of a £250m investment programme.
Tata said subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise will also be looking at how it can provide more support to local steel communities and stimulate new jobs, with a £650,000 boost.
Tata Steel European operations CEO Karl Köhler said the redundancies were part of a plan to become an “all-weather steel producer, capable of succeeding in difficult economic conditions” and would be focused on voluntary redundancies.
“These restructuring proposals will help make our business more successful and sustainable,” he added.
“But the job losses are regrettable and I know this will be a difficult and unsettling time for the employees and their families affected.
“We will be working with our trade unions and government at a national and local level to ensure we provide them with as much assistance and support as possible.”
Michael Leahy, general secretary of the Community trade union and chair of the National Trades Union Steel Coordinating Committee, said he would seek an urgent meeting with the firm to help avert compulsory job cuts, but said he was “pleased to see the company has already committed to offering a package of training and support for those affected by these changes”.
Mr Leahy blamed the “continuing failure of the government’s economic policy” and said it is “yet another reason why we are calling on the British government to take urgent action to stimulate economic growth and help revive the manufacturing sector”.
Last year Tata Steel launched a five-year improvement programme backed by significant investment, including almost £250m to rebuild a blast furnace and install energy-efficient gas recycling at Port Talbot.
Appropriate consultation processes with employees and their representatives will begin at each location affected by today’s announcement.
Job cuts at Tata
The firm is set to cut 500 jobs at Tata Steel‟s Port Talbot-based production hub in South Wales. Similar restructuring programmes were initiated last year at the company’s other two production hubs.
Changes are also planned at several of the firm’s steel finishing and processing sites in the UK “to improve its product and service offering for customers”.
Services will be concentrated at six distribution and processing hubs, with a £22m injection of funding.
The cuts will lead to the closure of 12 sites, including Tafarnaubach and Cross Keys in South Wales.
In addition, shift levels at the company’s Rotherham and Hartlepool operations will be reduced to match production to lower demand for bar products and pipelines.
The company is set to restart Blast Furnace 4 – one of two blast furnaces in Port Talbot, which is being rebuilt as part of a £250m investment programme – in the first quarter of 2013.
It will also lead to the restarting of the hot strip mill at the company‟s Llanwern site in Newport, South Wales.