Tata to axe 720 steel jobs as negotiations fail

5 December 2015

Tata Steel is expected to confirm that it will cut all of the jobs identified for elimination at its South Yorkshire operation after talks to try to save positions failed.

In July the company said as many as 720 jobs could go at its steel bar business, mainly in Rotherham, but added it was working with staff and unions to see if it could reduce this number and redeploy staff.

However, sources indicate these talks have failed to save any jobs and the all of them will now go.

Local MP John Healey said he had received confirmation from Tata that all the jobs will be lost including 500 at the Aldwarke plant in his constituency. Of the 720 redundancies, 350 will be compulsory, Mr Healey said.

“Rotherham has become the forgotten town of the steel crisis,” the MP said. “We’re being hit just as badly as other parts of the country, hundreds of job losses have now been confirmed.”

The UK steel crisis has so far claimed about 5,000 positions after Tata warned of losses at its other sites including its giant Scunthorpe plant, SSI’s Redcar furnace was shut down and Caparo Industries collapsed into administration.

British steel makers are struggling to compete as cheap Chinese steel is dumped on global markets and high energy prices are pushed up by green levies.

The UK Government is fighting to win EU approval to give state aid to steel companies to cut their energy bills, but has yet to receive the go-ahead. However, last week’s Autumn Statement pledged to bring in an exemption for so-called “energy intensive industries”.

A Tata Steel spokesman said: "The bar business has been underperforming in the face of commodity-grade steel being unfairly traded in the UK, the strong pound and high energy costs. This led to a decision, after examining all the options, of refocussing on higher-value markets which can help the company reduce its losses and turn the corner to profitability in the future.

"While Tata Steel is thankful of the work done by the trade unions via their consultants, Syndex, none of the recommendations proposed would have given us the solid base required to ensure we can continue to employ around 1,500 people in South Yorkshire as we continue to operate against strong market headwinds.”

While the talks failed to win a reprieve for any of the affected jobs, the consultation is continuing and no date has yet been set for the redundancies.