TATA Steel is cutting almost 600 jobs at its Port Talbot and Llanwern works. Most of the losses will be management and administrative posts in Port Talbot, in what the firm describes as a restructuring of the business to help make it more "sustainable".
The company is also closing its sites in Crosskeys and Tredegar, while axing 155 jobs in Yorkshire, 120 in the West Midlands and 30 on Teesside. In total some 900 jobs are being lost.
Karl Kohler, chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, said: "Today's proposals are part of a strategy to transform ourselves into an all-weather steel producer, capable of succeeding in difficult economic conditions."These restructuring proposals will help make our business more successful and sustainable, but the job losses are regrettable and I know this will be a difficult and unsettling time for the employees and their families affected."
The steel giant suffered a massive fall in profits in the first half of this year — group profit after tax was £27,586,196 for the first half to the end of September, compared to £657,235,950 in the previous year.The firm is currently in the final stages of construction on a £185million blast furnace at Port Talbot.
A Welsh Government spokesman said the news of the job loses was "very disappointing" and a "massive blow" to those affected.He said: "The Welsh Government has a very strong relationship with the company, and officials will now work with Tata to establish a task force and identify what support we can provide for those affected. "Tata's decision reflects the serious and ongoing challenges faced by manufacturing industries during these very difficult economic times."He added: "In addition to these challenges, it is clear that high energy costs and uncertainty over UK Government energy policy are having a significant impact on business investment decisions."