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BBC Wales's Miles Fletcher
"Until the company denies it, this speculation has to be taken seriously"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 18 July, 2000, 07:45 GMT 08:45 UK
Fresh fears over Welsh steel jobs
steel plant
There are fears that 1600 Welsh steel jobs are under threat
It is being reported that Corus, the UK's biggest steel producer, is planning to cut 1600 jobs in South Wales in the next few days.

It is claimed the jobs will go at the Llanwern, Port Talbot, and Ebbw Vale works.

The company, which has announced over 2,500 job cuts across the UK over the last month, has dismissed the reports as speculation.

But BBC Wales's business and industry correspondent Miles Fletcher said the recent job losses were announced via leaks to the press and any cuts in Wales could be following the same pattern.

Industrial plant
Steel is a major componet of the Welsh economy

Corus was formed last year by the merger between British Steel and the Dutch firm Hoogovens.

Last week it confirmed 1200 jobs were to go at its plants in the north-east of England and Scotland.

That news followed 1400 redundancies announced in June.

Most of these were at sites at Rotherham and Sheffield in South Yorkshire but they included some 200 at the research and development centre in Port Talbot.

Manufacturing

The company has blamed the strong pound and a decline in steel demand by UK manufacturers for the cutbacks.

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

Trepidation

There has also been widespread speculation that the Llanwern plant was to close.

There is still speculation that the company could move some of its manufacturing to Poland.

Alwyn Jones , the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation representative in Wales, said the workers were waiting "with bated breath" for confirmation of any job losses.

"There is a sense of anticipation and trepidation," Mr Jones said following the other cutbacks in the industry across the UK.

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See also:

26 Jun 00 | Wales
Corus pain over strong pound
16 Jun 00 | Business
Corus axes steel jobs
16 Jun 00 | Wales
Steel jobs go at Port Talbot
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