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'All British Tata Steel bid' between Excalibur Steel UK and Liberty House 'completely untrue'

Credit: PA

A deal between Excalibur Steel UK and Liberty House to buy the Tata Steel UK operation is "completely untrue", ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills has been told.

The "all-British bid" between the two companies was thought to have been to allow Excalibur access to what one source describes as "the deep pockets" of Liberty House, while in turn they would benefit from working closely with the team who have been seen as the front-runners from the outset of the sales process.

The rumour had emerged ahead of the planned Tata board meeting in Mumbai this week to whittle down the seven bids for the ailing steel operation.

The sale includes the huge Port Talbot plant and 15,000 jobs across the UK.


SSI Chief claims 'it would be possible to resume operation of SSI UK'

Win Viriyaprapaikit, right, with the Prince of Wales, centre, and Derek Thomas, Project Director of SSI Steel Credit: PA

Win Viriyaprapaikit, the president and chief executive of SSI, has told the Bangkok Post "it would be possible to resume operation of SSI UK", in order to generate revenue for the loss-making subsidiary.

SSI UK employed over 2,000 workers at its Redcar site, before closing operations at the beginning of October 2015.

Community Union, which represents Redcar steel workers, has said that Mr Win should come to the UK to explain his intentions for the North-East:

SSI was quick enough to turn their back and leave behind a devastated community. The least Mr Win could do is come to the UK and explain what his intentions are. That site cannot be allowed to rot for years, it must be returned to useful economic activity which brings the decent jobs back that this struggling community so desperately needs.

As the union for SSI workers Community has made it clear that we will continue to support and campaign for our members who have been affected until they return to employment and the community recovers. We know this won’t happen overnight but what don’t need is a company that abandoned us blocking Teesside’s chances to recover.

– Paul Warren, former SSI worker and Regional Organiser for Community

Shoe store Brantano goes into administration

Credit: Brantano

More jobs could be at risk after footware store Brantano announced it's to go into administration.

There are eight stores across the North East employing 85 people.

The administrators say Brantano has been hit hard by the change in consumers' shopping habits and the changing retail environment.

The company is a value shoe retailer operating 140 stores and 60 concessions across the UK and employs around 2,000 staff.

Pricewaterhousecoopers (PWC) have been appointed as joint administrators of Brantano Limited.

The administrators are continuing to trade the businesses as normal whilst we assess the trading strategy over the coming days and weeks. Staff will be paid their arrears of wages and salaries, and will continue to be paid for their work during the Administration.”



Berwick MP 'devastated' for General Mills factory workers

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick, has said she is devastated that the General Mills factory will close in the town.

She has previously written to the Prime Minister asking for his support for workers at the site.

I am devastated for the workers to learn from General Mills that they have decided to close their profitable factory in Berwick-upon-Tweed in the autumn, despite over 50 years of production of Jus-Rol products on the site by its hugely talented workforce.

I will continue to work with the local taskforce to do all I can to link interested buyers with General Mills to find an alternative future for the site, and hopefully many of its dedicated staff.”

– Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP

Council say taskforce will help those losing jobs at Berwick factory

Northumberland County Council say a taskforce will help those set to lose their jobs when General Mills close their factory in Berwick.

265 jobs are expected to go when the facility closes in the autumn.

A taskforce was set up when General Mills announced their plans to close the site in October. It involves iNorthumberland County Council, the local MP, Berwick Town Council, Northumberland’s development company Arch, Jobcentre Plus, the North East Chamber of Commerce, The Confederation of British Industry, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and UK Trade and Investment.

The council said taskforce members will be offering individual support for all employees including help on finding new work, CV and interview skills, advice on benefits and help with future training.

Companies in General Mills supply chain network will also be approached to see what support they may need.

Councillor Allan Hepple, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth with Northumberland County Council and chair of the taskforce, said:

This is very sad news for the county, and particularly for the staff who work in the factory, which has been a big employer in the town for many years.

We know this closure has affected some entire families who work at the factory and the taskforce will do absolutely everything it can to provide short, medium and long term support both to those directly affected, the town of Berwick and the wider economy.

We will also continue to press the government with the ongoing support from our local MP for any help they can give.”

– Councillor Allan Hepple, Chair of the taskforce

Union say staff at Jus Rol factory are 'devastated'

Staff at General Mills Jus Rol factory in Berwick are devastated by the factory closure confirmation says their union.

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) Area organiser Rab Donnelly said:

Since the initial announcement we have been in extensive consultation meetings with the company, looking at ways to avoid a closure. With great sadness for the workers on the site, their families and the wider community, this proved not to be possible and General Mills have today announced that the closure of the Berwick factory will go ahead.

This has been an extremely difficult process for all concerned and is devastating news for the staff.”

– Rab Donnelly – Usdaw Area Organiser
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