06 December, London
Labour Party lawmaker John Healey said he is pulling all stops to prevent Britain’s largest steel maker (Tata Steel) from firing 720 workers from its Yorkshire plant.
“I have asked for an urgent meeting with the industry minister Anna Soubry next week,” 55-year-old MP from Wentworth and Dearne said in a statement on his official website.
Healey has called for support to steel workers after a Tata director confirmed to him recently that 720 jobs (about 50 percent) would be laid off from its speciality steels plant at Aldwarke plant at Rotherham in South Yorkshire, which is in his constituency. The plant employs about 1,500 skilled workers.
“With hundreds of forced redundancies ahead, steel workers are facing a bleak Christmas and new year. They need all the help we can get,” said Healey.
Healey fears besides 350 compulsory redundancies, about 500 jobs would go at Aldwarke plant if a bail-out package was not announced soon.
Though Soubry pledged to help during her recent visit to Rotherham after the steel summit in London on October 16 deliberated on the brewing crisis in the British steel industry, Healey said the Conservative governemnt did not release funds to bail out to ailing firms.
“We need a support package for South Yorkshire on the same scale as was put in place in Scunthorpe where nine-million pounds from the government and Tata (firm) will help steel workers and the local economy,” he said in the statement.
Tata laid off about 900 workers from its Scunthorpe plant in October
Lamenting that Rotherham became a forgotten town of the steel crisis, the opposition MP said the government did not make any announcement on the crisis in its autum statement on November 25.
The Aldwarke plant makes steel bars for automobiles.
Slowdown in the Chinese construction sector has resulted in excess supply in the global steel market and lower demand for British products.
In a bid to prevent job losses, the British government exempted steelmakers from emission norms and issued fresh procurement guidelines to promote use of home-made steel in state-run building contracts.