Steel industry crisis deepens as Tata axes another 1,000 jobs

Soubry 'Determined' to Keep Steel Production at Port Talbot

Steel-making communities have been dealt another huge blow after Tata announced more than 1,000 job losses, worsening the crisis in the industry.

Most of the jobs will go at the huge plant in Port Talbot, South Wales, where 750 posts will be cut, although service firms and contractors will also be affected.

Other factories will also be hit, with 200 in support functions and 100 at steel mills, affecting Llanwern, Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel's European operations, said: "I know this news will be unsettling for all those affected, but these tough actions are critical in the face of extremely difficult market conditions which are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

"We need the European Commission to accelerate its response to unfairly traded imports and increase the robustness of its actions. Not doing so threatens the future of the entire European steel industry."

The Government came under attack from unions for doing "too little, too late", but ministers defended their action in supporting the industry.

Roy Rickhuss, leader of the Community union, said: "Today's announcement is no reflection of the skills and commitment of the Tata Steel workforce, which has been breaking production records over the past year.

"Rather, it is yet another chapter of the UK's ongoing steel crisis and the lack of a proper Government response.

"This industry needs meaningful action from the UK Government, which up to now has been characterised by fast talking but slow delivery, despite persistent warnings from Community that delays in implementing support for steel would have an impact on jobs."

Alan Coombs, a Port Talbot steelworker and president of Community, said: "Here in Port Talbot we make some of the world's best steel, but cheap Chinese imports and high energy costs are crippling our industry."

Gareth Stace, director of trade body UK Steel, said: "This is deeply disappointing news and I am very concerned about the future of the plant and community. This is a site of critical importance to our national industrial infrastructure."

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: "The steel industry is having to take tough decisions in the face of extremely challenging conditions but this is deeply disappointing news.

"Our immediate focus will be on working with the Welsh Assembly to support workers in South Wales as well as other Tata UK sites to find new jobs as quickly as possible.

"The Government has taken clear action to help the industry, through cutting energy costs, taking action on imports, Government procurement and EU emissions regulations, meeting key steel industry asks."

Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle said: "This is devastating news for all of the workers, their families and the close-knit communities affected.

"Labour has long called for David Cameron's Government to take immediate action to help the steel industry, but they've sat on their hands while the industry has descended further into crisis."

Almost 5,000 job losses have now been announced in the steel industry since last summer as firms struggle with high energy costs and cheap Chinese imports.

Previously announced cuts include 2,200 at Redcar (SSI), 900 at Scunthorpe (Tata), 450 at various locations (Caparo), 225 at Dalzell (Tata) and 45 at Clydebridge (Tata).

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Cheap Chinese steel imports are wrecking the steel industry. The Government must take measures to prevent China from dumping cheap steel on the world market."