Steel jobs to go as construction sector reduces demand

ABOUT 340 jobs are to be axed at a steelworks in Scunthorpe because of weak demand in the construction industry, Tata Steel has announced.

The Scunthorpe site will bear the brunt of 500 job losses across three sites, with 90 posts in Workington and 40 in Teesside also set to be lost.

Tata said the planned cuts were being made amid a prolonged downturn in demand for some of the key products made by the Scunthorpe-based “long products” business, including the UK market for construction steel, which is about half of 2007 levels.

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Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “European steel demand this year is expected to be only two-thirds of pre-crisis levels after falls in the past two years.

“On top of the challenging economic conditions, rules covering energy and the environment in Europe and the UK threaten to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry.

“As difficult as the proposed changes are, they are intended to build a stronger future by enabling the ‘long products’ business to compete in even the current challenging economic and regulatory conditions.

“We will of course engage fully with employees, trade unions and our political stakeholders during this restructuring process.”

Michael Leahy, general secretary of community and chairman of the UK steel unions’ committee, said: “We are obviously very concerned to hear this news and are doing all we can to support those affected.”

The GMB union said it would “insist” there were no compulsory redundancies.

North Lincolnshire Council is forming a taskforce to help those facing redundancy.

A Ukip spokeswoman called the announcement a “tragedy”, which she blamed on “EU rules and regulations”.