November 28 2019 @ 11:25 by Steven Hugill
A steel firm operating a North East factory is cutting up to 1000 UK jobs.
Tata Steel has revealed plans to axe staff in a restructure of European operations.
Bosses at the company, which runs a pipe mill in Hartlepool, say the proposals will help it become a “financially strong and sustainable European business.”
However, trade union Community has criticised the plans as short-termism, saying workers have been treated with “complete and utter contempt.”
The 1000 UK jobs are part of a wider 3000 number, with workers across divisions in the Netherlands and the rest of the world also affected.
The company has not stated locations of where jobs may be lost, however, it says “about two-thirds…are expected to be management and office-based roles.”
Speaking about the proposals, Henrik Adam, Tata Steel in Europe chief executive, said the business needed to take action to remain competitive in a challenging environment.
He said: “I’m very proud to see the dedication of everyone in this business, determined to succeed even in the face of a very tough market.
“I also understand and appreciate colleagues’ concerns about these proposals.
“Change creates uncertainty, but we cannot afford to stand still as a company – the world around us is changing fast and we have to adapt.
“Our strategy is to build a strong and stable European business, capable of making significant investments needed for a successful future.”
However, Roy Rickhuss, Community union general secretary, said it believes the plans are a worrying sign for Tata Steel’s future, and called on bosses to reconsider.
He said: “We are seriously concerned about the direction that Tata Steel Europe is taking.
“We have consistently called for a vision for the future, which includes plans for investment. Yet again that is lacking.
“We have been presented with short-term plans, which only create worry and uncertainty and do little to inspire confidence.
“It feels like the company is just managing decline and we need a significant change of direction that can inspire the workforce that they have a future.”
Tata’s Hartlepool base operates as a 20-inch pipe mill and has capacity to make 220,000 tonnes of tube products for the construction, engineering, and energy and power markets every year.
Tata previously oversaw the Long Products division in the North East.
The business included the Teesside Beam Mill, near Redcar, a special profiles factory in Skinningrove, east Cleveland – which supplied steel for the £6.2 billion HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier – and a site in Blaydon.
However, bosses sold the operation in a previous restructure to investor Greybull Capital for £1.
Renamed British Steel, the business began strongly, securing a number of contracts, but it fell into compulsory liquidation earlier this year, with operations thereafter overseen by a Government-appointed official receiver.
Earlier this month, it was confirmed China’s Jingye Group had entered into an agreement to buy British Steel.