Shock and sadness over proposed steel industry cuts

Published: 8th May 2009

Please note this is an archived Press Release

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council has today (Friday 8th May) expressed its shock and sadness at the announcement by Corus to begin consulting on possible redundancies at the Corus site.

The Council's Leader Councillor George Dunning said: "We've had the threats hanging over the Teesside steel industry for many years, but today is like being hit by a mini earthquake compared to what's happened in the past.

"I was made redundant from the steel industry in 1994, so I'm afraid I have first hand knowledge of the damage and misery it can cause to families.

"All I can say is that this Council will be here to assist any steelworker who faces losing their job.

"We will take a full role in supporting residents who are experiencing the impact of today's announcement and who are concerned about their future by bringing together a task group of officers, experts in employment, support and welfare advice."

The Corus website reported today: "Corus regrets to announce that it has been forced to open consultations that might result in a decision to mothball its Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant in northeast England.

"This development has become unavoidable because of a failure by four international slab buyers to fulfil their obligations under an Offtake Framework Agreement (OFA).

"The company has today begun discussions with employees and their representatives about what can be done to mitigate the impact of mothballing the plant on the 1,920 TCP employees and what future action may be needed. Any decision to mothball is likely to lead to a very significant number of redundancies."

Councillor Dunning described the mothballing decision for the blast furnace as "a major concern." He said: "In years gone by, there was hope that it could be brought back into stability, but this announcement sends a shiver down my spine."

Councillor Dunning also questioned the decision of the consortium - which includes the companies of Marcegaglia SpA, Dongkuk Steel Mills Co Ltd, Duferco Participations Holding Ltd1 and Alvory SA2 - to stop taking steel from Teesside Cast Products. He said: "Any lay person would think that by refusing to take any more steel from Teesside Cast Products these companies are in breach of their 10-year contract."

The Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Development Councillor Mark Hannon bemoaned the 'scourge of unemployment' on the Borough.

He said: "This is a desperate situation and we need the Government to step up to the mark and start supporting our manufacturing industries.

"Obviously, we've heard rumours over the recent past, but, today our worst fears have been realised. It's the scourge of unemployment and we can't tolerate it. We're facing serious social and economic effects."

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