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British Steel to cut jobs in Darlington and Teesside

North East steel company to cut 70 jobs Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images
The company took over sites at Darlington and Skinningrove from Tata Steel last year. Credit: PA

British Steel has outlined plans to cut 70 jobs from its Special Profile sites in Darlington and Skinningrove.

The company, which tool over the sites from Tata Steel last year has set out plans to strengthen the competitive position of the business through growing sales, further investment and reducing costs.

British Steel will spend £1.8m this summer on raising manufacturing capabilities at its Skinningrove plant which, along with Darlington, makes components for earth-moving equipment. Further investment is planned to modernise the plant by introducing automation to the production process.

Peter Gate, British Steel Managing Director Special Profiles, said:

“We’re striving to become a global leader in special profiles but to do this – and deliver the high standards customers quite rightly expect – we need to be more flexible and more efficient.

“In recent years, prior to the launch of British Steel, the Special Profiles business hadn’t been profitable. It’s encouraging that we’re now making a profit but we must become even more competitive if we are to grow and win more orders.”

“We will be working closely with our unions to determine how we reduce our overheads, including employment costs.

“The proposed plan seeks to reduce the number of positions in the Special Profiles business by up to 70 over the next two years and I understand this news will be upsetting for those people affected.

“We will give them all the support needed and will work with our other sites in the North East region to minimise the impact.

“We’ve already identified up to 20 opportunities at our Teesside Beam Mill plant in Lackenby and we hope some employees will consider transferring to those roles.”

“We’ve explored a number of other options but this strategy is the one we feel best suits the future needs of our business and our customers."

– Peter Gate

British Steel was launched last year and has five business units – Primary Products (iron and steel-making), Construction, Rail, Wire Rod and Special Profiles.

The steelworkers' union has responded to the potential job cuts at British Steel.

Responding to the announcement from British Steel regarding potential job cuts, restructuring and investment at its Special Profiles business, Steve McCool, national officer at the steelworkers’ union Community, said:

“Clearly this will be worrying news for the workforce, so we will be providing every support necessary to our members who may be affected. We have received assurances from the company that the process can be managed without the need for compulsory redundancies and we will make sure this principle is upheld. In the coming weeks we will be going through the detail of the company’s plans to confirm that today’s proposals are in the best interests of a sustainable future for the Special Profiles business within British Steel.”

– Steve McCool

The company has already identified 20 opportunities at its Teesside Beam Mill operation to which workers could transfer. Workers potentially affected by the changes have been briefed.