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Collapse threat to 400 steel jobs

A steel firm which employs 400 workers has gone into administration in a "devastating" blow to the industry, union leaders have said.

The Community union said it had been told the news about the Thamesteel plant in Sheerness, Kent, one of the area's main employers.

The move followed an earlier announcement by steel giant Tata of 110 job losses at its plant in Corby, Northamptonshire, under a "recovery plan".

Michael Leahy, general secretary of Community, said: "Once the administrators are appointed, we are willing to work with them to deepen and widen the search for an investor and we want to work with anybody who wants to give Thamesteel a future.

"Any investor who did come forward would find a proud and committed workforce dedicated to continuing production at the UK's first mini-mill."

The steelworks was acquired by the Saudi-based Al-Tuwairqi Group in 2002.

Tata's cuts will hit the Corby site, part of the firm's Tubes business, which is also cutting almost 100 jobs at three other factories in Europe. Tata said the move was in response to weak economic conditions.

Remco Blaauw, managing director of Tata Steel's European Tube business, said: "In response to the prolonged downturn in all European markets for tubes, and in the context of intense competition, the measures announced today are designed to bring these sites into a sustainable financial position.

"Our priority is to minimise the impact on our employees, and to assist affected colleagues through a difficult process. Our goal is to secure a sustainable tubes business which will not only weather the current economic storm, but can prosper in the future."

Mr Leahy said: "We are arranging an urgent meeting with Tata Steel Tubes to demand assurances there will be no compulsory redundancies and to explore all other options available. We also want a clear commitment from Tata Steel to the long-term security of the site at Corby."


From Belfast Telegraph