Jobs at risk at Rotherham steelworks at Liberty threatens to cut 355 posts

THIRTY-two jobs will be axed at two Rotherham steelworks as their owners cut more than 350 posts across the country.

Liberty’s steel and bar plant at Aldwarke and the strip mill at Brinsworth are among seven sites affected by the restructuring, which will see at least 250 redundancies at Stocksbridge and 72 in Newport, Wales.

It is understood 17 jobs will go at Aldwarke and 15 at Brinsworth. 

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Ross Murdoch, national officer for steelworkers union GMB, said: “Our steelworkers deserve better than this.

“The Government urgently needs to intervene and ensure steel companies in the UK receive the backing they have long called for on energy costs and business rates.

“GMB will of course engage with the company to mitigate any losses for our members and continue to campaign with our sister steel trade unions to bring about the support and investment required.”

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said she was extremely concerned and saddened — adding: “My deepest sympathy goes to those facing redundancy and their families. People losing their salaries will have far reaching repercussions and a direct impact on local communities and businesses. 

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“I will be urging Liberty to ensure they support affected employees to find new jobs and opportunities and to give reassurance that their long-term plans for the business still stand. 

“I will also be working with Rotherham Council and Government agencies to see that a package of support is in place.”

Ms Champion also backed the GMB’s call for Government help to tackle steelmakers’ costs, especially energy bills and business rates.

“It is their duty to protect the steel sector and I have requested an urgent meeting with the minister to hold them to account on these points,” she said.

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Liberty — part of the GFG Alliance group — said it aimed to seek voluntary redundancies in the first instance and would set up GFG Workforce Solutions to help the affected staff find new jobs.

Chief executive Cornelius Louwrens said: “Unfortunately, the steel industry in the UK is facing challenging conditions and we have made the difficult decision that there is a need to reduce the workforce at a handful of locations, in order to make them sustainable for the long-term.

“It has always been our intention, and always will be, to avoid compulsory redundancies.

“Our commitment to these steelworks, and our ambition for the future of this business, is as strong as ever.”