Everything we know so far after British Steel announces 400 job losses

Trade unions, community leaders and residents have spoken after the announcement that British Steel has introduced a "streamlining process" including the proposed reduction of 400 jobs.

The company based on Scunthorpe issued a statement on Friday morning with details of the proposals and explanation of why the process would be carried out.

Paul McBean, Scunthorpe multi-trade union president, said the biggest cutbacks will take place in Scunthorpe's steel mills.

What did British Steel say?

Roland Junck, the executive chairman of British Steel
Roland Junck, the executive chairman of British Steel

Roland Junck, the Executive Chairman of British Steel, said the company continues to "evolve" and said it is "absolutely necessary" for the company to become more competitive.

He pointed out that the company has pledged £ 120 million for investment projects and is continuing the upgrade of £ 50 million to the Scunthorpe Rod Mill, announced in July. The comany said it was the strategy to focus on "profitable, niche products".

Mr. Junck said: "The pace of change that we need in this challenging industry requires further and ongoing investment, along with more flexible and efficient operations."

He said that 400 jobs were expected to be lost in our global workforce & # 39; as a result.

He added: "It is vital that our transformation continues so that we can build a sustainable future for the entire company, nearly 5,000 employees and many more people in the supply chain."

Which employees are affected?

British Steel refused to say how job losses would affect different centers.

But Scunthorpe Live understands that the Scunthorpe plant will be hit hard and probably will take most of the job losses, as it is the basis for a large number of backroom staff likely to be hit hardest.

What happens now?

Mr. Junck said the company would discuss his proposals with senior union representatives and said that voluntary redundancy is on the table for employees who may want to leave the company.

He said: "We will continue to discuss our proposals, taking into account voluntary redundancies, with senior trade union delegates. We will ensure that this process is handled in a sensitive manner." We have not set deadlines, but strive for the period. of uncertainty for our people as short as we can.

"We know that this will be a worrying time for many people and we will make every effort to ensure that our people get the support they deserve now and in the future."

A significant long-term investment plan is intended to support British Steel for many years
Significant long-term investments are planned for British Steel

Is there mention of the trade tariffs of Brexit or President Trump?

Gerald Reichmann, Chief Financial Officer of British Steel, pointed out that the uncertainty about the strength of the pound was an influencing factor – without even going so far as doubts about a Brexit deal behind the move.

He also said that steel, traded in dollars, was affected by the exchange rate of the Atalnatic.

He said: "We have made a strong start with life as a British Steel, but our external environment is constantly changing: raw materials, for example, are all traded in US dollars, so the weakening of the pound and the euro will affect us. we need to be able to adapt to these changes.

"Strong market conditions support the approach we follow – we have a robust order book and continue to enter into important contracts with customers, both old and new, around the world.

What did the trade unions say?

In a speech to Scunthorpe Live, Paul McBean, Scunthorpe multi-union chairman of the site said: "I expect the biggest cuts in Scunthorpe itself, because this is the largest area.

"The last time I met ministers, I said that you have to decide if you want a steel industry.

"It seems like a shock reaction and they continue, I do what I did not think I would do – dealing with redunancies.

"I am at the stage of justifying job losses Where does this figure of 400 come from? I think they have come up with an amount of money they need to save and equate it with jobs.

"What will happen to the work that these people have done? What will they do in the future?

"It's just a spiral and then it's not done, I'm going to sit down with the management team and I'll try to reduce that number and try to get it as low as possible, I'll have to deal with this." We've never had a hard time redundancy in Scunthorpe and I do not intend to start. "

Is the market so difficult for British Steel?

The British Steel works in Scunthorpe
The British Steel factory in Scunthorpe

A spokesman for the National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee said that British Steel faced challenges and said government support for Scunthorpe was still needed.

He said: "This announcement will come as a blow to the staff who have already made huge sacrifices to make the company sustainable.

"We recognize that these are challenging times for UK steel producers, and it is high time that the government takes a step further and delivers for us by supporting investments in strategic steel assets.

"However, it is particularly disappointing that the company has chosen to cut a job so quickly after celebrating a second successful year and first quarter profits of £ 21 million.

"During the consultation process, the trade unions will challenge every job reduction and try to mitigate the impact of the company's proposals on our members."

What did the MP say?

Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin said the government should blame for not supporting British Steel.

He said: "Three years after the climax of the steel crisis, the conservative government has not taken any steps to level the playing field for the British steel industry.

"Despite the enormous goodwill of the steel sector, there is still no sectoral deal for steel, and the government is pushing the door to improving public procurement, tackling uneven energy costs, addressing high business taxes and supporting capital investment.

Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin during an operation at his Scunthorpe office
Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin

"If we leave the EU, the government will not give the steel the priority it needs to have confidence in a fair deal after the Brexit, so today's news is a wake-up call for the government to take action. and to come after our steelworkers and steelmakers.

"I speak with British Steel, the steel trade unions and the government, and do everything to stand up for local steelworkers and their families during this difficult time."

What did the city councilor say?

Rob Waltham, leader of the North Lincolnshire Council, said: "I do have sympathy for those who lose their jobs and the council will do everything possible to help them get back to work.

"Organizations regularly review their management and back office, we do this on a regular basis, it is an important part of ensuring that you can maintain and protect tasks on the front line."

What is the reaction in the community?

A Scunthorpe businessman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "Times are difficult, it's always bad news, most industries are over-run and understaffed."

A steelworker at Scunthorpe's work, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, "It's not good for those involved, I just come along and do my job."

Dean Parkinson, owner of Masey & # 39; s Cafe at the steel mills, said: "It must make money."

British Steel has announced proposals to reduce 400 roles in its operations in the UK and Europe
British Steel has announced proposals to reduce 400 roles in its operations in the UK and Europe

Ken Cross, from Winterton, said: "It has not been that long ago that they announced record profits that give people confidence for the future, and not so long ago they announced that they were following a course.

Ken Cross

"Financial compensation goes a long way."

Roj Rahman, a resident of Scunthorpe, said: "These are the people we want to keep in the city, if we eventually lose jobs, it will have a knock-on effect on the city.

Roj Rahman

"We need to find a mechanism to ensure that these jobs remain here."