Tata Steel to mothball British units, cut 1,200 jobs

Kolkata, Oct 20 (IANS) Tata Steel Europe – the continent’s second-largest steelmaker – on Tuesday announced proposals to stop production of steel plate in British plants, resulting in a loss of around 1,200 jobs.

Around 900 jobs in Scunthorpe in England and 270 others in Scotland as well as a small number of jobs at the company’s other Long Products’ European sites will be lost as a result of the decision, it said.

Plate mills in Scunthorpe, Dalzell and Clydebridge (Britain) would be mothballed while one of the two coke ovens at the Scunthorpe steelworks would be closed.

The job cut is poised to take place in the company’s Long Products business division.

The consultation process with Tata Steel employees and their trade union representatives will commence on Tuesday.

“I realise how distressing this news will be for all those affected. We have looked at all other options before proposing these changes. We will work closely with affected employees and their trade union representatives,” Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said in a statement.

He said the European Commission needs to do much more to deal with unfairly traded imports.

“Inaction threatens the future of the entire European steel industry,” he said.

According to the company, in the past two years, imports of steel plates into Europe have doubled and imports from China have quadrupled, causing steel prices to fall steeply. At the same time, a stronger pound has undermined the competitiveness of the business’s Europe-bound exports and encouraged more imports.

“Today’s proposals mark the next step in reshaping our business to give it the best chance of survival in this fiercely-competitive global marketplace,” Bimlendra Jha, executive chairman of Tata Steel’s stand-alone Long Products Europe business, said.

We are looking closely at the performance of all parts of Long Products Europe as part of a focus on returning to profitability,” he added.

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