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The BBC's Stephen Evans
"The company is currently losing money"
 real 28k

Bob Shannon AEEU engineering union
"This rolling redundancy programme is very demoralising for the workforce"
 real 28k

The BBC's industry correspondent Stephen Evans
'The company is currently losing money'
 real 28k

Friday, 14 July, 2000, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Corus confirms job cuts
Corus steel works  in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire
About 670 jobs are to go in Scunthorpe
The UK's biggest steel company has confirmed that it is to axe a further 1,200 jobs.

Corus said 670 jobs would be lost in Scunthorpe, 530 jobs in Teeside and 10 jobs at its Dalzell plant in Scotland.

The news follows 1,400 redundancies announced in June and the company has warned that further job cuts cannot be ruled out.


Despite the recent fall, the sustained strength of sterling against the euro continues to cause severe competitive disadvantages for our business and our UK customers

Glyn Wheeler, Corus
Corus, formed by last year's merger between British Steel and Koninklijke Hoogovens, has blamed the strong pound and a decline in steel demand by UK manufacturers for the job losses.

Spreading the pain

Most of the earlier job losses went at the company's sites at Rotherham and Sheffield in South Yorkshire.

Analysts believe a decision on the future of the huge plant at Llanwern in South Wales will be taken in the autumn.

The Corus strategy has been to spread the job losses without shutting any major plants. If demand for steel picks up, it could then re-employ staff, observers say.

There is still speculation that the company could move some of its manufacturing facilities to Poland. Doing so would force a change of strategy and could result in the total closure of one of the UK plants.

Pound problem

Unions and industry analysts predicted large scale job losses as early as 1999, saying they would form part of post-merger cost-cutting.

The company has made no secret of its plan to cut jobs. It announced in February that 2000 to 3000 jobs were likely to go over the next two years.


Corus is playing a short term game of job losses now, but lost investment for the future

Sir Ken Jackson, AEEU general secretary
Corus has sought to blame its job losses on the strength of the pound against the euro.

Glyn Wheeler, head of Corus's construction and engineering division said: "Despite the recent fall, the sustained strength of sterling against the euro continues to cause severe competitive disadvantages for our business and our UK customers."

Corus has traditionally exported 50% of its goods into the eurozone, where it has seen revenues drop by 25% in recent years.

Union anger

Union leaders are in no doubt that the strength of sterling has made life difficult for the industry.

"Corus is playing a short term game of job losses now, but lost investment for the future. It is not the right way forward and is further evidence that the strong pound is battering the steel industry," Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union.

Michael Leahy, general secretary of Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, added: "They represent the dismantling of a crucial British manufacturing industry...Worst of all, the cuts will bring misery and despair on still more workers in steel communities who will lose their principal source of income."

Unions are to meet with the Department of Trade and Industry on Monday to discuss a way forward for the steel industry.

Last month, Corus reported a pre-tax losses of 113m for the half year and warned further "difficult decisions" would have to be taken.

The company employs 35,000 people in the UK

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See also:

26 Jun 00 | Business
More steel cuts loom
15 Jun 00 | Business
Job cuts at defence firm
16 Jun 00 | Business
Corus counts sterling cost
16 Jun 00 | Business
Corus axes steel jobs
07 Jun 99 | The Company File
British Steel merges with Dutch rival
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