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‘Body blow’ to steel workers as British Steel plans to axe 400 jobs

Labour criticises the Tory government's failure to support the industry

BRITISH Steel’s plans to cut jobs in Britain are another “body blow” to steel workers, trade unions and Labour said yesterday.

The company, which employs 4,000 workers in Britain, said it would be cutting 400 managerial, professional and administrative roles across its global workforce to secure a “sustainable future.”

British Steel executive chairman Roland Junck claimed the company was “sad to be making this announcement, particularly for our colleagues who could be affected.”

But a spokesperson for the National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee (NTUSCC), comprising representatives of Unite, GMB and Community, said it would “challenge every job reduction and seek to mitigate the impact of the company’s proposals on our members.”

The NTUSCC said in a statement: “This announcement will come as a body blow to the workforce, who have already made huge sacrifices to make the business sustainable.

“We recognise these are challenging times for UK steelmakers, and it’s high time the government stepped up and delivered for us by supporting investment in strategic steel assets.

“However, it is particularly disappointing the company has chosen to cut jobs so soon after celebrating a second successful year and first-quarter profits of £21 million.

“The company must now comply with its European and UK consultation obligations and present the detail behind the proposals to employee representatives.”

Shadow steel minister Gill Furniss called the announcement “extremely worrying” and criticised the government's failure to support the industry.

Ms Furniss said: “Workers at British Steel fought against the odds to defend the company’s future, even though the government has refused to properly support the steel industry.

“Workers will see this as another blow to an already fragile situation and will worry it’s a prelude to further job losses.
 
“The government has failed to support steel. They have failed to stand up to Donald Trump’s aggressive policies, which threaten our industry.

“And they have failed to produce a steel sector deal or address the vital issues facing steel companies, such as the disproportionately high electricity prices that hamper growth and investment.

“The next Labour government will take action to prevent other countries dumping cheap steel imports in the UK. We will invest heavily in research and development and encourage investment in steel so that it can compete and thrive globally and take full advantage of the opportunities available.”

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