Serious job losses are threating employees at Tata Steel Europe as the company talks of ‘severe market headwinds’, a new way of working to boost productivity, reduce bureaucracy in increase sales of higher-value steel products.
The steelmaker lists ‘lowering employment costs’ as one of four ways of improving the company’s financial performance, claiming that up to 3,000 workers, predominantly in white collar roles across Tata Steel Europe’s operations, will lose their jobs.
Other ways of improving things include reducing procurement costs through smarter sourcing and optimising production processes by using advanced analytics and big data.
According to Henrik Adam, CEO of Tata Steel in Europe, “Today we are highlighting important proposals towards building a financially strong and sustainable European business. We plan to change how we work together to enable better co-operation and faster decision-making,” he said, adding that the hope is to become self-sustaining and cash positive ‘in the face of unprecedented severe market conditions’.
The severe market headwinds alluded to by Tata Steel relate to declining EU steel demand and global overcapacity.
“Stagnant EU steel demand and global overcapacity have been compounded by trade conflicts which have turned the European market into a dumping ground for the world’s excess steel capacity,” said Tata Steel. “Together with a significant increase in the cost of emission allowances, this has created an urgent need for improvements to the company’s financial performance.”
Stephen Kinnock, Labour parliamentary candidate for Aberavon, commented: “It’s high time that the UK government started to show the same level of commitment to the steel industry as the workforce have done over the last few years. In reality, what that really means is that we need a change of Westminster government so that Aberavon, and Wales more widely, can receive the level of investment that our communities deserves.”
David Rees, Assembly Member for Aberavon, said: “The Welsh Labour Government has always stood up for the steel industry and for steel workers across Wales. We saw this in 2016 when the threat to sell Port Talbot was announced and since then to support our steelworkers in re-establishing a sustainable, competitive business. We have always been there for our steelworkers and we always will be.”
“This latest announcement is a blow to that workforce and I urge the Welsh Government to meet with Tata with a call to protect the jobs of Welsh steelworkers. A strong Welsh economy needs a strong steel sector with a highly skilled workforce to ensure we are competitive in the global market.”