British Steel announces 400 job losses

British Steel plant at Scunthorpe, which could be hit by job losses (Steve Morgan/British Steel) Credit: Press Association Images

British Steel is planning to cut 400 jobs in countries including the UK under moves to secure a “sustainable future”, the company has announced.

Managerial, professional and administrative roles will be affected, but the firm said no closures were being considered.

British Steel employs 4,000 workers in the UK, mainly in Scunthorpe, but also with plants in Teesside and Workington.

Unions said the announcement was a “body blow” to workers.

British Steel’s executive chairman Roland Junck said: “Following our launch and early growth as a new company, it’s important our business continues to evolve. It’s imperative we enhance our products and services and become more competitive so we can increase our foothold in the market.

“We’ve already committed £120 million to capital expenditure projects and are pressing ahead with the £50 million upgrade to our Scunthorpe Rod Mill, which we announced in July.

“However, the pace of change we need in this challenging industry requires further and continued investment along with more agile and efficient operations.

“To help us achieve this, we have to make difficult decisions and our plans unfortunately include the proposed reduction of 400 roles across our global workforce.

“We’re sad to be making this announcement, particularly for our colleagues who could be affected.

“The skill and dedication of our employees has helped us come a long way in a short period of time.

“However, it’s vital our transformation continues so we can build a sustainable future for the whole business, nearly 5,000 employees and many more people in the supply chain. We’re confident these proposals will help achieve this.”

A spokesman for the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee said: “This announcement will come as a body blow to the workforce who have already made huge sacrifices to make the business sustainable.

“We recognise these are challenging times for UK steelmakers, and it’s high time the Government stepped up and delivered for us by supporting investment in strategic steel assets.

“However it is particularly disappointing the company has chosen to cut jobs so soon after celebrating a second successful year and first-quarter profits of £21 million.

“The company must now comply with its European and UK consultation obligations and present the detail behind the proposals to employee representatives.

“Throughout the consultation process the trade unions will challenge every job reduction and seek to mitigate the impact of the company’s proposals on our members.”

Gill Furniss, shadow Steel Minister, said: “This is extremely worrying news. Workers at British Steel fought against the odds to defend the company’s future, even though the Government has refused to properly support the steel industry.

“Workers will see this as another blow to an already fragile situation and will worry it’s a prelude to further job losses.

“The Government has failed to support steel. They have failed to stand up to Donald Trump’s aggressive policies, which threaten our industry and they have failed to produce a steel sector deal or address the vital issues facing steel companies, such as the disproportionately high electricity prices that hamper growth and investment.”