Cameron pres­sured on steel job cuts ahead of G20

3,000 cuts an­nounced, 1,000 un­der threat

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

LON­DON: Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron came un­der pres­sure from trade unions and the La­bor op­po­si­tion this week over thou­sands of job cuts in the steel sec­tor, ahead of the G20 lead­ers’ sum­mit in Tur­key.

Around 3,000 job cuts have been an­nounced in the Bri­tish steel in­dus­try since Septem­ber and 1,000 more are un­der se­ri­ous threat, with man­u­fac­tur­ers blam­ing high en­ergy costs and cheap Chi­nese im­ports.

“The of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion has had to drag the gov­ern­ment kick­ing and scream­ing... time af­ter time to get them to stand up for Bri­tish steel­mak­ing” in par­lia­ment, said An­gela Ea­gle, Labour’s busi­ness spokes­woman.

“When is the busi­ness sec­re­tary go­ing to get a grip, stop hid­ing be­hind the EU and do more to tackle the root causes of this cri­sis?” The Bri­tish steel in­dus­try em­ploys some 30,000 peo­ple.

The trade unions have also voiced anger fol­low­ing a Euro­pean Union min­is­ters’ meet­ing in Brussels tomorrow to tackle the chal­lenges faced by Euro­pean steel­mak­ers. “Coun­cil min­is­ters and the (Euro­pean) Com­mis­sion have clearly failed to grasp the ur­gency of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion faced by the steel in­dus­try,” said Roy Rick­huss, gen­eral sec­re­tary of Bri­tain’s Com­mu­nity union.

“The sum­mit also failed to give a proper view on the im­pact of China gain­ing mar­ket econ­omy sta­tus, which will pose an ex­is­ten­tial threat to the Euro­pean steel in­dus­try,” he said.

The min­is­ters agreed only that they would in­ten­sify dis­cus­sions with ma­jor for­eign steel pro­duc­ers in­clud­ing Be­larus, China, In­dia, Rus­sia and Tur­key. The Euro­pean Union as a whole is the sec­ond big­gest steel pro­ducer in the world af­ter China, with more than 177 mil­lion tons pro­duced per year-or 11 per­cent of global pro­duc­tion, EU data shows. Some 40,000 jobs have been cut across Europe in the steel sec­tor in re­cent years. — AFP

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