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SSI: MP's fury after 240 steel workers laid-off mid-shift

A vigil has been held in support of Teesside steelworkers Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The Insolvency Service has been criticised after 240 people who thought they were being kept on at the SSI steelworks in Redcar were sent home in the middle of their shifts on Thursday, October 8. MPs have claimed that the Insolvency Service mistakenly told too many of the workers that they still had a job.

Earlier in the week it was announced that 650 workers would be retained at the Redcar steelworks to keep the coke ovens in operation. However, it is thought the official receiver told 890 steelworkers that they were being kept on.

Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Tom Blenkinsop and Redcar MP Anna Turley claim the official receiver retained more workers than were announced in error. However, the Insolvency Service said all onsite staff "at the time liquidator was appointed" were kept on for health and safety reasons.

Speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees this evening at a vigil held in support of Teesside steelworkers, Mr Blenkinsop said "the community feels like there has been a bereavement."

He said the people of Teesside have had their identity "attacked" and their livelihood "taken away from them".

It is claimed 240 people were told they had been made redundant and asked to leave the steelworks site mid-shift. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Addressing the claim that workers were made redundant in the middle of their shifts, Mr Blenkinsop said Redcar MP Anna Turley and union representatives had been left to "pick up the pieces" of the people put in charge to deal with the liquidation of SSI UK.

In a statement, the Insolvency Service said the official receiver "has now been able to assess staffing requirements and has reduced the number of employees to the level required to keep the site operating safely while he carries out his duties.”


Candlelit vigil for SSI workers

A candlelit vigil will be held tonight for workers at SSI in Redcar who have lost their jobs.

More than 2,000 people attended a rally last month in the hope of putting pressure on the government to help keep the steelworks open.

1,700 jobs are at risk at the site since it was announced that the plant would be mothballed.

SSI UK was wound up at the High Court on October 2nd.

The vigil is being held at St Andrew's Roman Catholic Church in Teesville tonight at 7pm.


The Insolvency Service says a decision has been made to buy sufficient coal to keep the Redcar Coke Ovens going until the weekend.

This will enable the Official Receiver to continue discussions with interested parties about purchasing assets in working order.

A decision about purchasing further coal to keep the ovens operational beyond the weekend will be taken at the end of this week.


SSI: Insolvency Service update

The Official Receiver is continuing to talk with interested parties about the future use of the site.

Staff continue to be retained on site to maintain the Redcar Coke Ovens and manage the site in a safe manner.

David Kelly, Toby Underwood and Ian Green from PwC continue to assist and support the Official Receiver as special managers.

They have published a further update for employees:

The Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) have issued letters to all SSI staff by post today with details of how to make an online claim for redundancy pay. If you have not received your letter by the weekend please contact the Redundancy Payments Enquiry Line on Monday.

If you have difficulty going online, in the first instance, please ask friends and colleagues if they can assist you or alternatively you may be able to get help from your local library or Citizens Advice Bureau.

RPS is establishing a dedicated team to process these applications as quickly as possible.

You can also call the Redundancy Payments Enquiry Line – please listen to the menu and select the dedicated SSI option."

– Insolvency Service

The redundancy payments enquiry line is open 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday, on 0330 331 0020.

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