Sheffield Forgemasters to axe up to 100 British steel jobs

20 January 2016

Sheffield Forgemasters, one of Britain's oldest steelmakers, plans to cut up to 100 UK steel jobs, it said on Wednesday, in another blow for an industry reeling from tumbling global steel prices and cheap imports.

The announcement comes two days after Tata Steel, Britain's largest steelmaker, said it would cut 1,050 jobs in Britain.

"This is undoubtedly a long period of industry contraction, with major recovery seemingly still some way in the future," Sheffield Forgemasters CEO Graham Honeyman said.

The latest job losses will place further pressure on the government to do more to protect the British steel industry, which is having to contend with EU steel prices at their lowest levels since 2004 ST-CRUEU-IDX.

Since October, 5,000 British steel jobs have been axed, equivalent to about a quarter of the sector's workforce.

"These significant job losses highlight that there isn't an area of steel that is off limits to the mix of extreme pressures the sector is facing," said Gareth Stace, Director of UK Steel.

"Government must act to ensure no further highly skilled jobs are lost."

Producing steel profitably in Britain is difficult because of cheap imports, mostly from China, as well as a strong currency, energy costs, soaring business rates and green taxes that are among the highest in the world.