Hundreds of contract steelworks jobs could face axe

A recent demo at Scunthorpe protesting over job losses at Tata Steel in the town.
A recent demo at Scunthorpe protesting over job losses at Tata Steel in the town.
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AS many as 750 contractors are at risk of losing their jobs following the announcement of 900 steelworker redundancies at Scunthorpe, a union claims.

It comes after Tube City IMS wrote to 350 employees warning them that their jobs were at risk.

The Community trade union said 200 employees were also at risk at Harsco, and another 200 who worked for Interserve, although they expected fewer to actually lose their jobs.

National officer Sean Scorer, who was meeting local contractors yesterday, is appealing for Tata Steel to “come clean with their plans and proposals” for mothballing the plate mill and closing the Dawes Lane coke ovens “to calm the supply chain.” He said suppliers needed assurances “it is business as usual and there is no need for knee-jerk reactions.”

Mr Scorer said contractor groups had been sent “into a frenzy” by recent remarks by European chief executive Karl Koehler over the future of the UK Long Products Division and suppliers being asked to slash their costs by up to 30 per cent. Contractors had been treated like “second class citizens” and needed an “even playing field.”

He said: “On Friday Tube City gave us advance notice that they would be writing to 289 employees amending their (advance notification of redundancy) HR1 notice (to 69 people associated with the plate mill and coke ovens) and putting everyone at risk, due to uncertainty at Tata Steel and within the UK steel industry and the owners being nervous about getting stung again as at SSI in Redcar.”

Tata Steel said: “We’ve been open about the challenges we face and wish to continue discussions with all suppliers as we look for better ways of working together.” Harsco and Tube City IMS declined to comment.

Interserve said they expected some redundancies and had started consultation with employees.