Liberty Steel to slash 440 jobs in next phase of ‘restructuring’
Liberty Steel is to implement the next phase of its restructuring programme which could affect up to 440 jobs, the company has announced.
Liberty, part of the GFG Alliance, said it will offer an alternative to redundancy through a programme which aims to retain, redeploy and reskill affected workers.
Workers will be offered a level of guaranteed salary and outplacement opportunities, with the intention of being redeployed within Liberty Steel UK on previous employment terms when market conditions allow.
The company said the measures will forge a “viable way forward” for the business and help safeguard jobs in its wider workforce of 1,900 permanent employees, and up to 5,000 including contractors.
Jeffrey Kabel, chief transformation officer for Liberty Steel Group, said: “Refocusing our operations will set the right platform for Liberty Steel UK’s high-quality manufacturing businesses to adapt quickly to challenging market realities.
“The support of our marquee customers will enable us to produce high-value, differentiated products through 2023 and beyond for strategic sectors such as aerospace, defence and energy.
“We remain committed to our longer-term growth plans in the UK including our plan to grow Rotherham into a two million-tonne green steel hub.
“While our action is expected to regrettably impact the roles of some of our workforce, we will provide a level of guaranteed salary and out placement opportunities through our unique Workforce Solutions programme as an alternative to redundancy.
“Liberty’s shareholder Sanjeev Gupta has supported the business through a very difficult period and remains committed to the workforce here in the UK and ensuring our lower carbon operations help deliver a sustainable, decarbonised UK steel industry.”
Liberty said in a statement: “Despite the injection of £200 million of shareholder capital over the last two years, the production of some commodity grade products at Rotherham and downstream mills has become unviable in the short term due to high energy costs and imports from countries without the same environmental standards.
“Primary production through Rotherham’s lower carbon electric arc furnaces (EAFs) will be temporarily reduced while uncompetitive operating conditions prevail.
“These actions together with the idling of Liberty Performance Steels in West Bromwich and the reconfiguration of Liberty Steel Newport into a storage, distribution and trading hub, may potentially impact up to 440 roles across the business.
“The company will consult with employee representatives, trade unions and UK Government throughout the process.”
Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s Business Secretary, said it “is devastating news for Liberty steelworkers, their families and the community built around this proud industry.”
Press Association – Alan Jones