Evening Times

Workers’ fury as 1700 jobs are axed

- By CATRIONA STEWART

SOME of the 1,700 workers set to lose their jobs at a steel plant in northeast England have spoken of their shock.

As reported in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Times, Europe’s second biggest steelmaker, Corus, is to close a plant.

Staff leaving the plant at Redcar, Teesside, yesterday could not hide their anger at the decision to axe the jobs. One worker said management had recently put them through safety training, giving workers hope they would be kept on.

He said: “They all say how willing the lads are to do their jobs. It’s hit us like a ton of bricks.”

Another said: “Merry Christmas. Thanks, Mr Adams”, referring to chief executive Kirby Adams.

A third worker added: “The bankers get bailed out but we get nothing on Teesside.”

Union bosses are now calling on the govern-ment to bail out the plant. Unite has asked the government to save the plant on what it called a “dark day” for British manufactur­ing.

Joint general secretary Derek Simpson said: “The government must now act to save Teesside as decisively as it acted to save the banks last year.”

Corus, owned by India’s Tata Steel, said it was moth balling the Re d car blast furnace. The plant employs about 2 0 0 0 workers and is a major employer in the region.

Corus said it had made “strenuous efforts” over the past eight months to secure a long-term future for the factory.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s spokesman said: “This is disappoint­ing.

“We know Corus were trying to find a long-term solution to the difficulti­es they flagged up earlier this year.

“We have worked hard with all parties since the cancellati­on of a main supply contract in May, and are very aware Corus management have worked very hard to try to keep the plant open.”

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