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Tata Steel UK to axe 1,050 UK jobs

Over 1,000 steel workers in the U.K. will lose their jobs in the coming weeks due to cost-cutting measures introduced by Tata Steel UK.

Over 1,000 steel workers in the U.K. will lose their jobs in the coming weeks due to cost-cutting measures introduced by Tata Steel UK, an indirect subsidiary of Tata Steel.

The announcement came Monday as part of the company's cost-saving proposals to improve the competitiveness of its U.K. business.

The continued fall in the European steel price caused by a flood of cheap imports, led by China, is believed to be behind the proposed changes.

The plans will lead to the loss of 750 jobs at its Port Talbot-based Strip Products UK business, 200 jobs in support functions and a further 100 jobs at steel mills in Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool.

Matt Ball, Communications Director for the Community Union, the largest steel workers' union in the U.K., told CNBC in a phone interview. "They're [the workers] obviously extremely worried and anxious at the moment … we'll be meeting with the company to discuss the plans and make sure the numbers won't impact on the safety and integrity of the plant."

Port Talbot is the largest steel plant in Britain in terms of workforce and output, and currently employs 4,000 workers.


Welders work on a beam
Shawn Patrick Ouellette | Portland Press Herald | Getty Images
Welders work on a beam

In light of the announcement, both Tata Steel UK and Community Union called on the European Union and the U.K.to do more to protect British workers against the influence China has on the U.K.'s economy.

Commenting on the reports,Community's General Secretary Roy Rickhuss said in a statement: "The dumping of cheap Chinese steel is one of the biggest causes of this crisis, yet the UK Government remains a cheerleader for China and their bid for 'market economy status', which would decimate what's left of our steel industry. This cannot be allowed to happen."

Karl Koehler, Chief Executive of Tata Steel's Europeanoperations, said in a statement: "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 futureof the entire European steel industry."

Alan Coombs, a Port Talbot steelworker and President of Community, reacted to the news by saying in the Community Union's statement: "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."

Almost 5,000 job cuts have been announced in the steel industry since the summer of 2015 as companies struggle with high energy costs and cheap Chinese imports.

Tata Steel became Europe's second largest steel producer, and the biggest in the U.K., after it bought Corus, formerly British Steel, for £8 billion in 2007.

It supplies products and services to markets including construction, automotive, packaging,rail, energy and aerospace.

Tata Steel UK said it would begin a full consultation process with employee representatives immediately.

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