400 jobs lost at British Steel but deal with Jingye means steel is still made at Scunthorpe

The deal will preserve the blast furnace at Scunthorpe Picture:  Scott MerryleesThe deal will preserve the blast furnace at Scunthorpe Picture:  Scott Merrylees
The deal will preserve the blast furnace at Scunthorpe Picture: Scott Merrylees | jpimedia
Unions have welcomed news that Chinese steelmaker Jingye will acquire British Steel next week.

The deal will preserve the production of steel at the company’s headquarters in Scunthorpe, however there will be around 400 redundancies.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Unite’s members at British Steel will be feeling a sense of relief today that the deal has finally been confirmed.

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“The lives of the affected workers and their families have effectively been on hold for 10 months since the company went into compulsory liquidation.

“Some hard decisions have had to be made in order to ensure the deal went through. Jingye’s offer was the only one which guaranteed the continuing operation of the blast furnace which was essential to the company’s long-term future."

Mr Turner said it was essential that the government introduce public procurement rules to ensure UK steel, alongside other UK manufactured products, "is always sourced to support public sector procurement projects, including HS2, new hospitals and other infrastructure projects, our Royal Naval ships and when purchasing new rolling stock for our railways".

The government also needs to examine "extortionate" charges for energy and business rates to allow UK steel to compete with the rest of the world.

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Business secretary Alok Sharma tweeted: "Jingye has reached a significant milestone in securing a deal for the future of @BritishSteelUK

"Having met and spoken to British Steel employees, the Unions and Jingye, I know just how committed they all are to a successful future for the business."

It is not known how many redundancies will be at Scunthorpe, with unions saying they would be split between Scunthorpe and Teeside.

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community said: “We look forward to working with Jingye as they bring forward the £1.2 billion of investment, which should have a transformational effect on the business and will ensure it has a sustainable future.

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“There is still plenty of work to be done in the coming weeks. Not least supporting those who did not receive job offers yesterday. We argued that everyone should be taken over into the new company and we are continuing to make the case on behalf of our members for the maximum number of employees to be transferred to the new business.

"We also hope that the Hayange plant can be part of the future of British Steel as it is an important element of the downstream supply chain from Scunthorpe.

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