LIBERTY Steel to consult on mothballing Scunthorpe plant which employs more than 120 staff

LIBERTY Steel has started a consultation process regarding the mothballing of the LIBERTY Merchant Bar (LMB) plant in Scunthorpe which employs more than 120 staff.

The company said this decision comes after a “thorough review of strategic options and the challenging external conditions especially the lack of local feedstock supply that has affected the plant's viability”.

The statement added: “Over the past two years, LIBERTY's parent company, GFG Alliance, has explored all possible ways to establish a sustainable business for LMB. Despite providing significant financial support and maintaining the plant's safe, compliant facilities, the commoditised products produced by LMB face stiff competition from imports with lower energy costs and less stringent environmental standards.”

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The loss of gas supply to LMB's reheat furnaces due to the closure of coke ovens on the same site has further impacted the plant's viability, the statement said.

Library image from Liberty Steel of one of its steelwork operations. (Photo by PA Media)Library image from Liberty Steel of one of its steelwork operations. (Photo by PA Media)
Library image from Liberty Steel of one of its steelwork operations. (Photo by PA Media)

“The consultation process will begin today with union representatives, and approximately 127 employees associated with the plant will be part of the process,’’ the company said.

"LIBERTY is committed to retaining critical skills and redeploying staff where possible to minimise the impact on employees. The consultation process will last a minimum of 45 days, during which time LIBERTY will make every effort to achieve a consensus with the workforce.”

LIBERTY Steel Chief Transformation Officer Jeffrey Kabel said: “Over the last two years LIBERTY has restructured and refocused its UK operations so they can operate viably and we have explored every option to achieve the same at LIBERTY Merchant Bar.

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"A range of external factors have prevented this, including the high energy costs all UK steel producers face, and the loss of third party gas supply to our furnaces.

"As a result, we have opened a consultation on the proposed mothballing of the plant. During the process we will continue to support colleagues, as we have done throughout the past two years, and will make every effort to retain critical skills and redeploy staff where possible.”

LIBERTY Steel Group, which is part of the GFG Alliance, has a total rolling capacity of 20m tonnes, and employs more than 30,000 people.

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