SSI: Anger as 240 steel workers given 'false hope'

'Save Our Steel' banner in a Redcar church Credit: ITV News

MPs have strongly criticised the Insolvency Service after claiming 240 people who thought they were being kept on at a former steel works were sent home in the middle of their shifts.

Redcar Labour MP Anna Turley said it beggared belief that staff at the former SSI plant on Teesside had mistakenly been kept on.

The Official Receiver had said 650 people would be kept on to keep the coke ovens working. Irreparable damage would be done if they were allowed to go cold.

But Ms Turley and Labour colleague Tom Blenkinsop, MP for neighbouring Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said they understood that in reality 890 people were kept on.

They said 240 workers were sent home in the middle of their shift and told they would be made redundant.

This beggars belief. It is beyond cruel that 240 people who thought they had a life line to keep their jobs and keep the plant alive are told today that this was a mistake and they aren't needed after all. What are the administrators playing at? How can they make an error of this scale? Why is no one taking account of the human side of this debacle? I don't know how much more these guys can be expected to take." >

Anna Turley MP

It was announced on Wednesday that enough coal would be bought to keep the ovens going until at least the weekend while discussions continued about the ovens' future.

This is disgusting and the Insolvency Service and the Department for Business need to be held to account. It is hard enough to be let go in the first instance after liquidation, but to be kept on and given false hope is quite frankly inhuman. We will be working with Community Union to give these men the justice they deserve." >

Tom Blenkinsop MP