Yesterday’s announcement of 1,500 job cuts by Tata Steel in mills in Scunthorpe, Teesside and Hartlepool, is a ‘devastating blow’, the GMB union said.
Keith Hazlewood, GMB National Secretary, said: ‘The announcement of 1,500 steel jobs to go in Tata Steel UK Long Products business demonstrates what a roller-coaster industry the steel industry is.
‘The recent announcement that steel making is to start again on Teesside is directly followed by these 1,500 job losses across Tata’s Long Products division.
‘The job losses will impact at Scunthorpe, Teesside and Hartlepool and in the steel mill sites making joists used mainly in construction.
‘These job losses amount to approximately eight per cent of the Tata UK workforce.
‘This is a devastating blow to UK steel making, to the local communities and to the UK economy.
‘The GMB and the other steel unions will work with Tata to mitigate as many job losses as possible, and will oppose any compulsory job losses.
‘The GMB will fight job losses in the steel industry.’
Unite union national officer, Paul Reuter, also said yesterday: ‘This is a real blow for the region.
‘Today’s announcement highlights just how fragile our economy is, and the coalition government should not be so quick to start talking about growth and recovery.
‘Union representatives are currently working with Tata to mitigate the impact of the cuts.
‘Unite has already demanded that there should be no compulsory redundancies and we believe that this should be possible to achieve.
‘Tata has also announced that it intends to invest £400 million into the business.
‘While the job cuts are very disappointing the investment is to be welcomed and Unite will be working to ensure the money benefits the workers.’
The TUC noted that Thursday’s quarterly employment statistics from the ONS ‘are once again a source of disappointment and concern for the North East.
‘Unemployment in the region rose a further 4,000, taking the total figure to 131,000 at the end of March.
‘These figures firmly cement the region’s position as the worst in the country with an unemployment rate of 10.4 per cent.’