Page last updated at 21:07 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Steelmaker Corus considers delaying Teesside closure

Corus's plant at Redcar
Production at the Redcar plant is due to stop at the end of January

Steel bosses say they will consider postponing the partial mothballing of Teesside's Corus plant following a meeting with union leaders.

Redcar's Teesside Cast Products (TCP) is due to close at the end of January with the loss of about 1,700 jobs.

Corus said talks were "productive" and confirmed the possibility of extending operations until late February.

The firm has also agreed a last-minute deal to keep the South Bank Coke Ovens open, safeguarding 120 jobs.

TCP had been at risk since a 10-year contract with international buyers fell through.

'Meaningful talks'

After the partial mothballing was announced, the government pledged £60m to help the area recover, but opponents have said the cash should be spent on saving the steelworks.

At the end of December, North East MPs Vera Baird, Ashok Kumar and Dari Taylor met with Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss options for keeping the plant open.

Tuesday's meeting between Corus bosses and union leaders was intended to ensure all alternatives had been explored.

Local MPs raised the issue in Westminster Hall: From BBC Democracy Live

In a joint statement, TCP and the trade union taskforce said: "In the interests of maintaining a continuation of meaningful talks with a view to securing a positive future for TCP, Corus agreed to consider a TU proposal to extend TCP's operating programme and postpone the partial mothballing to the end of February.

"This extension of the operating period would not affect timescales associated with the ongoing HR process."

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