Page last updated at 17:54 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 18:54 UK

Talks in Italy over Corus future

Left to right; Vera Baird, Antonio Marcegaglia, Terry Pye and Mike Leahy
Vera Baird, Antonio Marcegaglia, Terry Pye and Mike Leahy in Mantua

Redcar Labour MP Vera Baird has been to Italy as part of a campaign to save the Corus steelworks from being mothballed.

Ms Baird and two union representatives held talks with the chief executive of Marcegaglia in Mantua on Friday.

The steel specialist was one of a consortium that pulled out of a deal with Corus, putting 2,000 jobs at risk.

The meeting was described as encouraging - Marcegaglia indicated it might be willing to explore ways of preserving production at the site.

Ms Baird was accompanied by union officials Michael Leahy, General Secretary of Community, and Terry Pye, National Officer of Unite.

They presented a petition signed by 240 business people, and afterwards issued a joint statement.

"Marcegaglia indicated that under the right circumstances they were willing to use their good offices to encourage their partners to sit down with Corus in the UK to explore new possible commercial solutions which will preserve production and assist the process of safeguarding jobs on Teesside," it said.

"This is the message we will be taking back to Corus and the UK Government and we hope that they will ensure such talks can take place as a matter of urgency."

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