90 steel jobs axed

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STEELWORKS chiefs have revealed plans to axe 90 workers after failing to secure any new contracts during the economic crisis.

Tata Steel Tubes told staff yesterday morning that the Hartlepool workforce at two of its mills that serve the energy markets was being slashed, with 90 jobs to go.

The firm recruited 100 people to its 42-inch and 84-inch mills in Brenda Road in April last year after securing a pipeline order for gas fields.

But with no new orders secured since then, workers are now in a 30-day period of consultation with the firm and steel unions.

It also emerged yesterday that 300 Tata steel jobs elsewhere in Teesside were also being axed, while 1,200 positions are to go in Scunthorpe where a plant is to be mothballed.

Union bosses have vowed to challenge the move, describing it as a “devastating blow”.

Remco Blaauw, managing director of Tata Steel Tubes, said: “The reduced number of tenders for major off-shore oil and gas pipelines over the past 12 months means there are insufficient orders to maintain current employee levels. No major orders

have been secured beyond this summer, but if demand increases we would look to boost employee levels to match this.

“Over the coming weeks, our priority will be to help our employees through this difficult process and offer them the advice and support they need during these uncertain times.”

Tata director Ramsey Ross added: “A total of 74 jobs will go from the 42” mill, with the remainder going from the 84” section.

“We will now be a looking at a selection criteria where we will take in account factors such as attendance, competence and service.

“The prospects for 2012 are much better than they have been for the last 18 months, but this is a project-based industry and we have been affected by the global economic climate, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the general price of gas and oil.

“The workers know of the order load, and there are regular communications to staff to keep them informed of developments.”

The proposals do not affect Tata Steel Tubes’ 20” mill in Hartlepool, which makes a different product range and operates in a more diverse range of markets.

Tata Steel Tubes employs 1,870 people at its locations throughout the UK and Holland.

Keith Hazlewood, GMB national secretary, said: “The announcement demonstrates what a rollercoaster industry the steel industry is.

“The recent announcement that steel making is to start again on Teesside is directly followed by these 1,500 job losses across TATA’s Long Products division.

“The job losses will impact at Scunthorpe, Teesside and Hartlepool and in the steel mill sites making steel joists used mainly in construction.

These job losses amount to approximately eight per cent of the TATA UK workforce. This is a devastating blow to UK steel making, to the local communities and to the UK economy.

“GMB and the other steel unions will work with TATA to mitigate as many job losses as possible, and will oppose any compulsory job losses. GMB will fight job losses in steel industry.”