In its statement today, Liberty Steel UK announced that it will reduce primary production at its Rotherham site and will idle its sites in Newport, West Bromwich and Tredegar, with a view to restarting these plants when conditions allow.
Alun Davies, National Officer of Community the steelworkers’ union said Liberty Steel’s plan to restructure its UK business, impacting up to 440 jobs, is a “body blow” to the loyal workforce.
Davies said Liberty Steel’s decision to go down the path of capacity cuts and redundancies breaks with its previous commitment to invest sustainably in the business and ramp up production.
The steelworkers’ union criticised the government for failing to deliver its promise on competitive energy costs, risking the future of the UK steel industry which support over 70,000 jobs in the industry and across the supply chain.
In response to Liberty Steel’s announcement, Alun Davies, National Officer of Community the steelworkers’ union, said:
This announcement is a body blow to Liberty Steel’s loyal UK workforce, who couldn’t have done more to get the company through an exceptionally challenging period.
Since the collapse of Greensill Capital the trade unions have supported the company because we believed that delivering the company’s business plans, which were audited and backed by the unions’ independent experts, was the best route to safeguard jobs and the future of all the businesses. However, the plans we reviewed were based on substantial investment and ramping up production, including at Liberty Steel Newport, and did not include the ‘idling’ of any sites.
These are challenging times for all steelmakers but the company’s decision to change their plans, on which we based our support, and announce a strategy seemingly based on capacity cuts and redundancies, is devastating. The consultation on these proposals must be meaningful and the unions will be scrutinising the detail of plans to idle Newport, West Bromwich and Tredegar, including Liberty’s commitment to restart the plants when conditions allow.
Government must play their part, stop the dithering and act to deliver the competitive energy prices our industry so desperately needs. Steelworkers have had enough of warm words, it’s past time for government to decide whether it wants a steel industry in this country.
Community is the steelworkers’ union. More steelworkers are members of Community than any other union. We have a history dating back over a century, representing members and campaigning to protect Britain’s steel industry. You can find out more and join here.
- 11,522 people signed the Britain, we need our steel petition. You can see the petition here.
- 33,000 people are directly employed by Britain’s steel industry.
- An additional 40,000 people work in the steel supply chain. Those jobs are reliant on the future of the industry too.
- Over 88 per cent of steelworkers are the main earner in their household.
- £6 billion is what Britain’s steel industry will be worth by 2030.
- £3 billion is the value of exports from Britain’s steel industry.