Nearly 500 jobs could be cut by Tata Steel as the company announces restructuring plans which will affect its Scunthorpe, Teesside and Workington sites. (Release)
The losses - around 340 in Scunthorpe, 90 in Workington and 40 in Teesside - come amid ongoing weak demand in the construction industry. The steel industry is faring particularly badly, with demand currently at about half of 2007 levels.
Tata Steel said the cuts would mainly affect management and administrative roles.
Chief executive Karl Koehler said: "on top of the challenging economic conditions, rules covering energy and the environment in Europe and the UK threaten to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry."
Koehler said the company will work with staff and unions during the restructuring process, in order to support its employees.
General secretary of the union Community Michael Leahy stressed the "fragile state" of the economy, along with the "lack of any real impetus by government to support [our] manufacturing base." The union is seeking an emergency meeting with Tata Steel to explore alternatives, reiterating their opposition to job cuts.
Jon Bolton, director of the Long Products operation that is being restructured, said that the further fall in demand for steel in the UK means that the company needs to concentrate on restoring the ability of relevant operations to "compete throughout the economic cycle."