Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Corus closes two Midlands plants

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The firm says a severe downturn in orders has led to the closures

Steelmaker Corus is to close two of its bases in the West Midlands with the loss of 169 jobs.

Staff were told on Monday that the plants in Wednesbury, which employs 108 people, and Wednesfield, where 61 people work, would close.

Corus, which is axing 2,500 jobs across the UK, also has plants in Coventry and Halesowen in the region.

Corus, a subsidiary of India's Tata Steel, has seen its order book drop by more than a third.

The global demand for steel has fallen by 40% from last year's peak.

'Viable business'

Steel prices have also fallen by half since last September.

John Read, from the Community Union
John Read, from the Community Union, said workers had expected bad news

Peter Hogg, commercial director for Corus' engineering division, said the Wednesfield site had been hit by the decline in the motor industry.

"This site mainly supplies the automotive industry and as you can imagine we're all down at the moment in our order book.

"So we had to take the decision to relocate this base to Rotherham, to our site that supplies this site, to try to make a viable business going forward."

Mr Hogg added that if the closures were approved following a 90-day consultation period the factory could close within the next nine months.

John Read, from the Community Union, said: "The guys inside are feeling pretty dismal obviously at this point.

"A lot of them did expect that something was going to happen sooner rather than later.

"It's an unfortunate situation but there it is."



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