Liberty Steel Group is planning to cut hundreds of jobs in South Yorkshire and South Wales after a review of its UK business in response to "challenging market conditions and a lingering reduction in demand for UK steel products", the company announced.
There will now be a consultation process with unions over a proposal to cut around 280 jobs at its plant in Stocksbridge, South Yorkshire and around 70 in Newport, South Wales.
Liberty Steel UK chief executive Cornelius Louwrens said:
Liberty has taken enormous strides in improving the performance of the steel mills it has acquired over the last six years.
The firm will offer voluntary redundancy to workers at the affected sites, and has set up a new company, GFG Workforce Solutions, to enable employees hit by the cutback, to remain within the GFG Alliance, a group of companies which includes Liberty.
GMB, the union for steelworkers, has responded to the news.
Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer, said:
Once again we have more bad news for the UK steel industry. A country that doesn't produce it's own steel for key infrastructure projects and shipbuilding is a county that's destined to fail.
MP for Penistone & Stocksbridge Miriam Cates says:
This is devastating news for steelworkers, their families and our whole community and I will do everything I can to support all those who have been affected by this decision. I have spoken to Liberty Steel this morning and I hope to visit the Stocksbridge site as soon as possible.
A UK Government spokesperson said:
We remain dedicated to maintaining a stable and thriving future for the UK Steel Industry. “We are monitoring the situation closely and are in contact with Liberty and the Unions, who are undertaking this consultation.”