Share of multi-million payout a ‘small victory’ for redundant steelworkers

The SSI plant which was mothballed last year.

The SSI plant which was mothballed last year.

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Former steelworkers have been awarded a share of £6.25million over lack of consultation when their plant closed.

The mothballing of the SSI plant affected the whole region, including Hartlepool where some of the workers came from.

The Community union took action on behalf of more than 1,100 members who lost their jobs when the Redcar plant closed. They will now receive up to eight weeks’ pay from the Government’s Redundancy Payments Office.

The union said the headline figure would have been over £14 million but because SSI is bankrupt, workers will only get the share that the Government pays.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, said: “This is a deserved victory for our SSI members and it is only right and proper that the tribunal found in our favour because of the way these workers were treated.

“As the lead union in the claim, the diligent preparation and hard work of our team of staff and lawyers has been rewarded today and our members will get what they are entitled to. However, as we have said before, this small victory will not compensate for the devastation from the end of steel-making.

“Today’s judgment is not an end, just a moment of welcome good news. In the coming days we will be supporting our members to access their share of the claim. Beyond that, our work continues to secure a better future for the steel community on Teesside.”

The payout news comes just a day after the first ever meeting of the Government-convened Steel Council which was due to look at how to address long-term issues for the sector.

In January, Tata Steel confirmed it was slicing 1,050 jobs off its UK operation, including its Hartlepool site where 62 posts out of a town total of 500 steelworkers would go.

Mr Rickhuss warned the UK steel industry was “drowning” in a flood of cheap Chinese imports which will get worse after the United States decided to impose new tariffs.