Jingye Group, the owner of British Steel, is considering cutting up to 2000 jobs in an attempt to battle losses of £30m a month, according to a report by The Guardian.
The potential cuts, which amount to almost half of the Scunthorpe-based firm’s 4,500 workforce, would not only be a cost-saving measure, but are also an indirect result of the company’s ambition to switch to greener steel production, using electric arc furnaces instead of blast furnaces. If the replacements go ahead, coke oven workers, as well as coal and iron ore importers, would no longer be required.
The cuts, first reported in the Sunday Times, are still under consideration and it is understood that no firm decision on the restructure has been made.
The UK government has offered Jingye Group £300m to support a shift to electric arc furnaces, but negotiations on finalising the deal are understood to be ongoing. The cash was reportedly linked to protecting jobs and a £1bn investment by the Chinese group, but it remains unclear as to how job cuts might affect the government’s investment.
''As part of our journey to net zero, it is prudent to evaluate different operational scenarios to help us achieve our ambitious goals and we are continuing to assess our options.”Spokesperson for British Steel
A British Steel spokesman said: “While decarbonization is a major challenge for our business, we’re committed to transforming British Steel into a green and sustainable company providing long-term, skilled and well-paid careers for thousands of employees and many more in our supply chains. As part of our journey to net zero, it is prudent to evaluate different operational scenarios to help us achieve our ambitious goals and we are continuing to assess our options.”
The restructure emerged after British Steel, which was rescued from collapse by Jingye in 2020, admitted in an industry meeting that it was losing up to £30m a month, according to the Mail on Sunday.
The company, while not providing exact figures, admitted it was struggling with a ‘temporary production issue’ and said it was ‘taking decisive action to minimise the potential impact on customer orders’.
It said in a statement: “The matter will be resolved at the earliest opportunity. We are manufacturing iron and steel and continue to work closely with our customers to satisfy demand and ensure they get the high-quality products they require.”
Source: The Guardian