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Fears over future of 500 jobs at Tata's Port Talbot steel works

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

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SPECULATION is mounting that 500 or more jobs could go at steel giant Tata’s Port Talbot works.

Concerned workers have said they are expecting an announcement within days over the future of posts there.

The firm confirmed in March it was asking its 3,500 workforce to stay at home on half pay in an attempt to avoid redundancies and retain skills.

But fears have resurfaced that jobs could now go.

It has further been claimed that a plan is being considered to mothball the number 5 blast furnace when the number 4 blast furnace is started up.

A Tata spokesman would not be drawn as to whether any announce- ment would be made, but said the company was spending more than it was earning as a business.

He scotched suggestions about the number 5 blast furnace and said the company’s plan was to run a dual furnace in the future.

One steelworker, who did not want to be named, said: “We are expecting an official announcement in the next couple of days.

“But from what we are led to believe, there will be around 500 jobs going, both blue collar and white collar, across all departments.”

Another worker, who also did not wish to be named, painted an even gloomier picture.

“I’ve been told that 1,500 Tata workers will be going and contractor jobs will be lost as well,” he said.

“A lot of the posts will be middle management jobs and will mainly be white and blue collar workers.

“I’ve also been told that the plan is to mothball the number 5 blast furnace when the new number 4 blast furnace starts up.”

Tata Steel made a £317 million profit in 2010/11 according to Companies House records.

Steelworker and Neath Port Talbot councillor Tony Taylor revealed there was concern.

He said: “The feeling here is one of concern mixed with incredulity because people are seeing all this massive work going on around the plant.”

Mr Taylor said there were problems not just with the UK steel market but worldwide.

“The fact Tata is still investing more than £200 million here at the bottom of the market means there is a commitment,” he said.

“If there are going to be any job losses then hopefully it’s short-term pain for long-term gain.

“Some steel works are closing but we are still here and I am confident we will still be here in 20 years’ time.”

A Tata spokesman said: “There’s some understandable anxiety.

“We have invested very heavily but have produced fewer volumes of steel.

“We are spending more than we are earning as a business at the moment and that is always hard to take.”

He stressed that number 5 blast furnace had undergone mid-term maintenance in March.

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  • sochat  |  November 23 2012, 10:02PM

    Dooyar or poo You are so hurtfull.lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.

    |   -1
  • Dooyah  |  November 23 2012, 6:14PM

    SourChat Some know what you are but EP rules prevent us from posting the sad truth.

    |   1
  • Neathboy234  |  November 23 2012, 5:48PM

    BTW i wasn't actually there in 1901.

  • Neathboy234  |  November 23 2012, 5:47PM

    sochat you seem to take a keen interest in me. I wouldn't be envious though, id be more than happy to be 25 again without a penny to my name. At the end of the day i'm just Mr average, well on most things anyway ha ha BTW which ones do u think i was lying about!!! lol

  • sochat  |  November 23 2012, 5:27PM

    Now we know neathboys approximate age along with the 51"flat screen telly four bedroom house,two chilren in university and pension,but i think he was lying about that one as well.

    |   -7
  • conn8d  |  November 23 2012, 4:42PM

    I speak from experience ! Anyone who has experienced one of their ''Journey'' days will know where i'm coming from.To sit there while being insulted and bullied by a succession of little caesars is an insult to many who have given most of their working lives to the place.

    |   -1
  • Neathboy234  |  November 23 2012, 4:10PM

    newtoposts quite right everyone who works in Port Talbot is fully aware of the situation that we are in. To be fair to Tata they have invested a huge amount in the company, and as you say lesser companies would have walked away. Anyone with half a brain could see this coming, and to be honest i thought it was going to be worse. Lets hope many aged 55 and over finish to give the younger ones a chance. It's going to be hard the next year or so, but with the investments Tata have made i'm sure we can pull through. The works has been there since 1901 and i'm sure it will be there a lot longer. With a bit of luck the Euro will fall back a little more helping our cause. With a bit of luck those who don't work there obviously know little about the subject will be able to control themselves and their runaway imagination.

    |   3
  • newtoposts  |  November 23 2012, 3:43PM

    I don't usually post on websites, but I feel I have too. I have worked for British Steel, Corus and now Tata. Anyone that has worked in the steel industry in Wales (clearly not conn8d) that has an ounce of sense knows full well that any other parent company would have shut the plant and made everyone redundant. Tata is fully supporting Port Talbot and its narrow minded fools that just like to cause trouble make statements like the below!!! @ conn8d "As for TATA's commitment to Port Talbot just remember a lot of the workforce are still wearing CORUS overalls, cars have CORUS id discs. Personal id cards and an awful lot of in shop literature still has the CORUS identity stamped all over them and this is after being taken over 5 YEARS AGO !.TATA don't give a damn for the workforce. Never have and never will."

    |   7
  • conn8d  |  November 22 2012, 10:30PM

    As for TATA's commitment to Port Talbot just remember a lot of the workforce are still wearing CORUS overalls,cars have CORUS id discs.Personal id cards and an awful lot of in shop literature still has the CORUS identity stamped all over them and this is after being taken over 5 YEARS AGO !.TATA don't give a damn for the workforce.Never have and never will.

    |   -5
  • RichardCorso  |  November 22 2012, 6:55PM

    It's always sad that this sort of news is spread just before Christmas. I hope the rumours are not true as the workforce left at the steel works do not deserve this.

    |   8