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Job axe falls in fresh steel industry blow

The steel industry was dealt a fresh blow today with news that Corus plans to axe hundreds more jobs at one of its biggest plants.

The firm, owned by Indian giant Tata, said that 366 posts were "at risk" at its site in Scunthorpe in north Lincolnshire, under plans to improve its competitiveness.

The job cuts are expected to hit managers and administrative staff and come on top of 500 job losses at Scunthorpe as part of 2,000 cuts announced last month following a slump in demand for steel products.

Corus also announced plans to cut 2,500 jobs earlier this year.

The firm said in a statement: "Consultations with employees and their representatives have begun on the Scunthorpe site today. Wherever possible the company will seek voluntary redundancies, while at the same time ensuring that critical skills are retained. Support packages will be available to those leaving the company."

Michael Leahy, general secretary of the steelworkers' union Community said the latest cuts added "insult to injury" for the workforce, adding: "We keep hoping the job losses are ending and then another announcement comes along.

"We were disappointed an agreement could not be reached that would prevent job losses. Unfortunately, Corus did not put all their cards on the table during the negotiations.

"In the coming months, Community will be supporting our members throughout the consultation period and opposing hard redundancies. What Corus needs to prove is that these cuts will make steelmaking in Scunthorpe fit for the future not fit for the scrapheap."

John Wilson, senior officer of the GMB union said: "With this further announcement there is an even greater need for urgency from Government to secure this bedrock manufacturing industry and reassure the local community.

"We need to follow up the local talks that have already taken place with unions, MPs and the Government to develop practical plans to find a way forward