Staff steel them­selves for job cuts at plant

In­dian-owned firm Tata blames fall­ing or­der book

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Kenny Smith

Up to 30 jobs could be lost at Cam­bus­lang’s Cly­de­bridge steel­works, af­ter own­ers Tata Steel an­nounced it was mak­ing changes to its UK op­er­a­tions.

The Re­former un­der­stands the In­di­anowned firm is look­ing to axe 47 jobs across its two La­nark­shire plants, the bulk of which are at Cly­de­bridge.

A to­tal of 330 peo­ple are em­ployed be­tween Cly­de­bridge and its Dalzell op­er­a­tion in Mother­well.

The news comes seven months af­ter it was re­vealed that Tata had signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing with the Amer­i­can Klesch Group, to un­der­take de­tailed due dili­gence and ne­go­ti­a­tions for the po­ten­tial sale of its Long Prod­ucts Europe busi­ness and as­so­ci­ated dis­tri­bu­tion ac­tiv­i­ties.

A spokesman for Tata said: “We are an­nounc­ing changes to the man­ning of the Long Prod­ucts plate mills in Dalzell and Cly­de­bridge to strengthen the com­pet­i­tive­ness of our UK op­er­a­tions.

“This ac­tion is be­ing taken in the face of sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure from global over ca­pac­ity and fall­ing or­der books.

“Th­ese were dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions which we made re­spon­si­bly, en­gag­ing em­ploy­ees and trade unions in or­der to se­cure the long term fu­ture of th­ese busi­nesses.

“Th­ese painful mea­sures were de­cided on af­ter a com­pre­hen­sive re­view, which con­cluded that they were es­sen­tial in or­der to turn the cor­ner to prof­itabil­ity.

“We are work­ing closely with the trade unions to min­imise com­pul­sory

re­dun­dan­cies, and we are con­fi­dent of achiev­ing this through re­de­ploy­ment and vol­un­tary re­dun­dan­cies.”

Tata Steel blamed the move on a fall in de­mand for its prod­ucts.

The spokesman added: “The pro­posed changes are a re­sult of global over­ca­pac­ity for steel plate which has been through a quench­ing and tem­per­ing process and a mar­ket for th­ese prod­ucts still suf­fer­ing from weak de­mand. This sup­ply and de­mand sit­u­a­tion, com­bined with a stronger pound, has led to a big in­crease in im­ports and made ex­port­ing our steel plate more dif­fi­cult. Threats to cost com­pet­i­tive­ness, such as sig­nif­i­cantly higher en­ergy costs than our Euro­pean and global com­peti­tors, are par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in this con­text.

“We con­tinue to work both with the UK and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ments to re­solve is­sues which neg­a­tively im­pact the busi­ness. Th­ese in­clude lit­tle, if any, con­sid­er­a­tion for the use of UK prod­ucts and con­tent in ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects when they are still at the plan­ning stage, as well as high en­ergy costs and busi­ness rates which pe­nalise in­vest­ment.”

Ruther­glen’s Labour MSP James Kelly said: “This is a real con­cern, that we are see­ing 30 pro­posed job losses at Cly­de­bridge.

“Steel is a big fac­tor in the Cam­bus­lang and Ruther­glen area, and has been a part of so many peo­ple’s lives.

“I urge the com­pany to look at this de­ci­sion and con­sider the im­pact that it is go­ing to have on so many peo­ple’s lives.

“I will do all that I can to sup­port the trade unions and the work­force, to mit­i­gate, and try to stop, th­ese job losses.”

Com­mu­nity union of­fi­cial Steve McColl added: “The sit­u­a­tion we find our­selves in at Cly­de­bridge is, the plate mar­ket is re­ally slow and we have known this for a con­sid­er­able amount of time, and the losses at both the mills, and at Scun­thorpe, are very con­cern­ing.

“It has been on the cards, and we were hop­ing the mar­ket would pick up, but the com­pany are look­ing at re­view­ing the man­ning lev­els.

“The union will be look­ing to min­imise the im­pact on that, and the pol­icy is very clear - we do not ac­cept re­dun­dan­cies, and we will chal­lenge any ‘hard’ re­dun­dan­cies.

“We have a very good record of be­ing able to work through the process and there will be vol­un­teers first of all, then maybe look at cross-match­ings be­tween the plants.

“The re­duc­tion at Cly­de­bridge is more than Dalzell, and maybe there could be a trans­fer of some posts from Cly­de­bridge to Dalzell to pro­tect peo­ple.

“We are fight­ing to have a sus­tain­able in­dus­try - we have met with the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, and will be go­ing back re­gard­ing any as­sis­tance they can give to the Scot­tish steel in­dus­try.”

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s busi­ness min­is­ter Fer­gus Ewing said: “I‘ m dis­ap­pointed to learn of Tata Steel’s pro­posed changes for its sites in Mother­well and Cam­bus­lang. While this will be an anx­ious time for those af­fected and their fam­i­lies, I wel­come Tata’s en­gage­ment with its work­force and the trade unions to achieve job re­duc­tions through re­de­ploy­ment and vol­un­tary means. My of­fi­cials in Scot­tish En­ter­prise are main­tain­ing close con­tact with the com­pany and will con­tinue to pro­vide their as­sis­tance to help re­duce the im­pact on jobs.

“We will pro­vide sup­port for those em­ploy­ees fac­ing re­dun­dancy through our ini­tia­tive for re­spond­ing to re­dun­dancy sit­u­a­tions, Part­ner­ship Ac­tion for Con­tin­u­ing Em­ploy­ment ( PACE). Through pro­vid­ing skills devel­op­ment and em­ploy­a­bil­ity sup­port, PACE aims to min­imise the time those peo­ple af­fected by re­dun­dancy are out of work.”

Ruther­glen’s for­mer Labour MP Tom Greatrex had pre­vi­ously crit­i­cised the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment for sourc­ing steel for the new Forth Road Bridge from Chi­nese, Span­ish and Pol­ish sup­pli­ers,

Process Red hot steel at Cly­de­bridge

Cuts Up to 30 jobs are un­der threat at the Cly­de­bridge steel works

Cut down to size The Cly­de­bridge work­force has been praised in the past for its ded­i­ca­tion

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