Just over a month after warning that over 720 jobs could go at its specialty and bar business division in the UK, Tata Steel said it plans to mothball its strip products business in Llanwern in Newport, Wales, as part of its efforts to cut costs and focus on high–value-added products to combat the mounting pressures on Europe’s steel industry.
The company said it expects no job losses among the 1,500 employees at the site as they are to be deployed across other Tata Steel units. However, the future of contracting and agency staff at the Wales site remains unclear. “The company will discuss possible impacts with contracting companies that provide services.”
Llanwern is a “balancing mill” that can be brought into or taken out of action depending on demand. The mill has been brought into action twice in the past six years.
“We need to concentrate more on sales of differentiated products to key sectors, including automotive, engineering, construction, packaging and consumer goods,” said Stuart Wilkie, Director of Strip Products UK, in a statement. Unite, one of the two major unions representing Tata Steel workers, called for government action on Wednesday. “The government’s current ‘leave it to the market’ attitude will result in the destruction of the steel industry and destroy skilled jobs in the UK. Ministers have to take action and intervene to support the industry before it’s too late,” said the union’s national officer, Harish Patel.