Fresh doubt over future of steelworks

HUNDREDS of jobs could be at risk at Rotherham’s Tata Steel factory after the company announced plans to sell its UK assets.

The company’s board decided at a meeting in Mumbai last night (Tuesday) that it would “explore all options for restructuring”, including the partial or full sale of its UK factories.

It casts fresh doubt over the future of hundreds of jobs at Tata’s plants at Aldwarke, Moorgate and Templeborough.

The company said trading conditions in the UK and Europe had “rapidly deteriorated” due to a global oversupply of steel, imports, high costs and currency rates.

A statement released by Tata said: “These factors are likely to continue into the future and have significantly impacted the long term competitive position of the UK operations in spite of several initiatives undertaken by the management and the workers of the business in recent years.”

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of steelworkers’ union Community, called for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron to prevent a “national crisis”.

He said: “The UK is now on the verge of a national crisis. Tata Steel withdrawing completely from the UK risks destroying our entire steel industry. That would be a disaster both for those communities reliant on steel jobs and our entire industrial base.

“For any advanced, manufacturing economy, steelmaking capacity is not optional. Losing the ability to make steel would fundamentally change our economy forever.

“Community has led the ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign thus far and today marks a new chapter in that fight.

“Today, I am calling on David Cameron to meet with me urgently to discuss how his government and my union can work together to safeguard the future of our steel industry. 

“Community stands ready to play our part in averting that national crisis – the Prime Minister must now stand up and play his role too.”

View Tata Steel’s full statement here.