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British Steel to Cut Up to 2,000 Jobs as Chinese Owners Seek UK Government Subsidies

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British Steel is reportedly set to cut up to 2,000 jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan, even as its Chinese owners seek substantial subsidies from the UK government. These potential staff cuts are aimed at replacing the company’s coal-powered blast furnaces with electric arc furnace (EAF) technology, which produces greener steel. This transition could enable Chinese group Jingye, the owner of British Steel since 2020, to access up to £300 million in taxpayer funding.

A spokesperson for British Steel emphasized the company’s commitment to providing long-term, skilled, and well-paid careers for its employees and supply chain partners. However, they acknowledged that the company is currently evaluating its options as part of their journey towards achieving net-zero emissions goals.

The GMB union has expressed its opposition to the proposed job losses, asserting that there are numerous alternatives to decarbonize the steel industry. The union emphasized the necessity of a fair and just transition for workers in any plan. The potential cuts would significantly impact British Steel’s workforce, which currently stands at 4,500 employees at its Scunthorpe plant and headquarters in northeast England.

British Steel has also announced plans to close the coke ovens at its Scunthorpe plant as part of its strategy to build a green and sustainable future. Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, recently held discussions with union leaders during a visit to Port Talbot. Starmer emphasized the importance of transitioning to green steel while protecting jobs, skills, and historical significance in South Wales. He also highlighted the potential increase in steel demand if the country successfully implements its clean power mission by 2030.

The proposed job cuts by British Steel are part of a broader effort to embrace greener technologies and reduce carbon emissions. While the transition to electric arc furnace technology offers environmental benefits, concerns have been raised about the impact on jobs. It is crucial for stakeholders to explore alternatives that prioritize both sustainability and the livelihood of workers in the steel industry.

More detail via UrduPoint here… ( Image via UrduPoint )

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