Tata Corus’s shock decision to mothball Teesside Cast Products (TCP) is a ‘premature decision that will have disastrous consequences for Teesside and the UK economy’, said the Community Union yesterday.
TCP’s Redcar Blast Furnace, Lackenby steelmaking and the South Bank Coke Ovens will be mothballed at the end of January 2010.
The union added: ‘The decision to mothball TCP puts 1700 jobs at risk and threatens the manufacturing base of the North East.
‘Corus have decided to continue operations at Redcar wharf and have issued a partial reprieve for the Redcar Coke Ovens dependent on internal orders.’
Community Union general secretary Michael Leahy said: ‘There is still time to save TCP as a going concern and Tata Corus have a moral and social obligation to Teesside steelworkers who have moved heaven and earth to rescue TCP and save their jobs.
‘Community Union are calling on Tata Corus to reverse this decision and continue to support the workforce on Teesside. Community will leave no stone unturned to find a solution which will secure the future of steelmaking on Teesside.
‘To that end, we are seeking urgent talks with the government to discuss what assistance they can provide to preserve the steelmaking infrastructure of Teesside and prevent a community being devastated.’
Slamming the news as ‘devastating’, Keith Hazlewood, GMB national secretary, said: ‘The union will be seeking urgent talks with Corus and we will also want to talk to the government about maintaining support for our vital manufacturing industries.
‘What a terrible contrast with 1,700 workers losing their jobs on Teesside while the multi-millionaire bankers gorge themselves at the expense of the tax payers.’
Unite’s joint general secretary, Derek Simpson said: ‘This is a dark day for British manufacturing.
‘Unite will do everything possible to prevent this closure from going ahead.
‘The government must now act to save Teesside as decisively as it acted to save the banks last year.
‘The plant needs urgent financial support to secure a future for the workers and prevent its closure.’
Corus has made about 1,000 job cuts since January, and announced it was cutting almost 2,000 more jobs at its UK plants, including Teesside as well as Scunthorpe and Rotherham, in June.
It blamed ‘the international consortium’s breaking of a binding contract’ after making an estimated £800 million profit.
Tata Steel Europe chief executive Kirby Adams said he had ‘spoken to the prime minister this morning and his thoughts are with the workforce’.
Adams thanked ‘the management team and the trade unions on Teesside, who have all worked night and day to try and avoid this outcome’.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson claimed the government had been ‘working hard’ all year to find a ‘long term solution that would save jobs and capacity at this plant’ and acknowdged ‘this will clearly be a very difficult time for the workforce’.
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