Workers, union officials and MPs have expressed shock at plans to cut hundreds of jobs at Tata Steel in South Yorkshire.
Staff at plants in Stocksbridge in Sheffield and Thrybergh and Brinsworth in Rotherham were told yesterday 550 positions were under threat.
The company is axing production of ‘black bar’ at Thrybergh in the face of intense competition and spiralling electricity costs.
A worker leaving the site said he felt let down by ‘the government and management’.
He said: “I found out from a lad on the shopfloor. There have been meetings all day.
“We’ve done everything we’ve been asked to do and we’ve just sorted our pensions and this is the next thing.”
Only this week, workers lifted a strike threat after a row over the company’s pension pot was resolved.
A manager leaving the site said the mood was ‘sombre’.
John Healey, Labour MP for said: “This is the worst possible news. It’s simply devastating for the workers and their families, many of whom waived pay, holidays and other entitlements to help keep Tata going through the global economic crisis from 2008. They kept faith in Tata and now feel let down.”
Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, said: “I’m completely floored and I am paticularly angry because we have been pushing the Government for years. Energy prices we pay in this country are up to 10 times higher than in Europe, so it’s just not a level playing field.
“All that has been promised is a report in 2016 and that is too little, too late.
“The most important thing for me is to get the support in place for workers.”
Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of trade union Community said: “It will be natural for workers to be sceptical about this plan as commitments by the same management team in previous restructurings have not been delivered.”
n Tata restructure: See Business page 27.