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ISTC General Secretary Michael Leahy
"If our members call for industrial action on the basis of compulsory redundancy, then the union will support that call."
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Monday, 24 July, 2000, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
Steel union's industrial action support

Unions have threatened the country's biggest steel producer with industrial action following last week's decision to cut 1,300 jobs in Wales.

A summit in Cardiff organised by the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, said it would also fight any moves to contract work to outside firms.

The unions have described Corus's decision to axe the jobs as a devastating blow.

Steelworks
Union threat over voluntary redundancies

Around 450 jobs are to go at Llanwern outside Newport, 400 at Port Talbot and almost 300 from the tin plate operations at Ebbw Vale and Trostre in Llanelli.

Redundancies will also hit Shotton in north Wales and some of the smaller operations around the country.

The union, which also held meetings on Sunday to discuss the threatened job cuts in other parts of the UK, said they want to challenge the government in guaranteeing the survival of the Welsh steel plants.

The steel giant , which has confirmed more than 3,700 job losses in the UK in the last few weeks, said it had to reduce costs and become more efficient.

Industrial plant
Corus shed jobs to become more efficient

But unions have warned that Britain could soon depend on imports of steel because of the cuts.

ISTC general secretary Michael Leahy said Corus would find it difficult to seek volunteers for redundancy in some areas.

"If any of our branches or members refuse compulsory redundancy we will ballot for industrial action," he said.

"All around the country there is bitterness and deep anger. We've made Corus the most productive company in the world, yet employees are being treated in a way that couldn't happen anywhere else in Europe."

The union announced it would be meeting with the chief executive of Corus next month to discuss the job losses.

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See also:

21 Jul 00 | Wales
Axe falls on 1,300 steel jobs
16 Jun 00 | Business
Corus counts sterling cost
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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