Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 15:24 UK

Corus cutting 2,000 UK steel jobs

Corus director Peter Hogg and union rep Stuart Sampson on the job losses

Steelmaker Corus is cutting almost 2,000 more jobs at UK plants including Teesside, Scunthorpe and Rotherham.

Corus blamed the job losses on a "further deterioration" in steel demand in the US and Europe. Unions said the cuts were "devastating".

About 500 white-collar jobs could go at Scunthorpe, while 375 jobs are at risk in Teesside and in Scotland. Up to 800 may go in Rotherham and Stocksbridge.

Corus has seen demand for steel fall as the global recession hits the industry.

"Any recovery in Europe appears to be some time off, so it is vital that we take this proportionate and responsible action now," Corus chief Kirby Adams said.

"We have to achieve long-term, sustainable competitiveness in a global and over-supplied steel market."


Labour MP Elliott Morley told the BBC he was "disappointed" at the level of cuts and added he had told the firm that job cuts should be a last resort.

Scunthorpe - 500
Stocksbridge - 379
Brinsworth - 45
Rotherham - 377
Teesside Beam Mill - 150
Hartlepool - 156
Skinningrove - 113
Dalzell and Clydebridge - 96
Corby - 88
Bolton - 9
Darlington - 9
The Netherlands - 123

"The priority is to see if all the job losses are necessary and whether they can be voluntary rather then compulsory."

The new UK job cuts would come on top of about 2,500 cut announced in January, says steelmakers' union Community.

Corus, a subsidiary of India's Tata Steel, says that it is Europe's second largest steel producer with annual revenues of about £12bn and crude steel production of over 20 million tonnes, primarily in the UK and the Netherlands.

The Community union called on the government to intervene saying there was now a battle for the survival of British steelmaking.

"It's devastating news for our members and their families in steel communities right across the UK," union general secretary Michael Leahy said.

"We have real concerns for the integrity of the British steel industry - we fear its further erosion could fundamentally undermine UK manufacturing."

Cost cutting

Peter Hogg, a commercial director at Corus, said outside the Rotherham plant that the firm itself was surprised by the extent of the global recession.

"It's clear to us that full recovery will be years away," he said, adding he thought the downturn would be "much longer and much deeper than anticipated".

In January, the firm announced a series of cost-cutting measures, which including mothballing a steel mill in South Wales as well as 3,500 job cuts worldwide, including the 2,500 in the UK.

Mr Morley, the MP for Scunthorpe, told the BBC that the job cuts were a "sad day for the town".

"It's important to try and minimise any job losses and, to be fair to Corus, they've been trying to do that," he said.

"They've learned that if and when the upturn comes, you will struggle without skilled workers.

"There has been much more focus on trying to preserve jobs in this recession, and I welcome that.

He called for any redundancies to be made on a voluntary basis where possible."

Shadow work and pensions secretary Theresa May said the cuts were "grim news for the hardworking employees of Corus".

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