Staff steel themselves for job cuts at plant
Indian-owned firm Tata blames falling order book
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