NATIONALISE CORUS – to defend every job

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Corus workers in the front of the ‘Unite for Jobs’ march in Birmingham on May 16
Corus workers in the front of the ‘Unite for Jobs’ march in Birmingham on May 16

THE Community Union described as ‘devastating,’ yesterday’s announcement of 2,000 more job cuts in Corus plants across the UK, and said there was now a fight on for the future of British steelmaking.

The Tata-owned steelmaker is cutting 2,000 more jobs at UK plants including Teesside, Scunthorpe and Rotherham, said the trade unions.

Shortly after 2.45pm Corus confirmed 2,045 jobs as being at risk: about 800 at the engineering steels sites, mainly Rotherham and Stocksbridge; about 370 in Corus Tubes in the UK and the Netherlands, and about 375 at downstream rolling and finishing plants in Teesside and Scotland.

The company is also opening consultations on 500 white-collar jobs throughout the Corus Long Products division, the majority at Scunthorpe.

Peter Hogg, a commercial director at Corus, said the downturn was ‘much longer and much deeper than anticipated’.

He added that any recovery is at least ten years away.

Scunthorpe Labour MP Elliot Morley said he was ‘disappointed’ and would be contacting Business Secretary Mandelson.

Corus also announced that 379 jobs are to be axed at Rotherham, another 377 at Stocksbridge, while more than 400 are at risk on Teesside.

Any new UK job cuts would come on top of about 2,500 announced in January, said steelmakers’ union Community.

Community Union General Secretary Michael J Leahy said: ‘It’s devastating news for our members and their families in steel communities right across the UK.

‘This is bad news on top of bad news – this brings the Corus job cuts for the year to around 4,500 and that’s without the threat to thousands of workers on Teesside and potentially more job cuts in the pipeline for Corus Strip UK.

‘All this just adds to the misery for steelworkers. Corus need to decide if they really are trying to be fit for the future or just fit for the scrapheap. . .

‘Community Union will be doing all it can in the coming days and weeks to minimise the job losses, oppose hard redundancies and fight for the future of British steelmaking.’

GMB senior organiser John Wilson said: ‘This is very shocking news on top of the jobs lost on Teesside.

‘The trade unions will be seeking an urgent meeting to see what this is all about.’

Unite national officer John Rowse said: ‘We will be having urgent discussions with the company on this latest announcement but we cannot keep moving from crisis to crisis; it’s time for the government to step-up and act.

‘The situation for Corus and British manufacturing is too serious to stand idly by. . .

‘Unite will be doing everything possible to support its members. Our priority is to minimise redundancies.’

It is clear that the only policy that can save jobs is to renationalise the steel industry.

If the Brown government won’t do that, it must be removed by working class action and replaced by one that will.