Tata-owned Corus to shed 3,500 jobs: Report

January 26th, 2009 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 26 (IANS) Workers unions were seeking urgent talks with Corus Monday after the Tata-owned steelmaker was said to be considering shedding up to 3,500 jobs.Although none of its plants will close down, unattributed media reports over the weekend and Monday said up to 10 percent of Corus’s 24,000 workforce in Britain could be cut, raising fears of a general wave of British redundancies this week.

Corus, Europe’s second largest steel manufacturer that was bought by Tata for 6.7 billion pounds two years ago, has a global workforce of 42,000 but has suffered from a slump in demand.

Prices of some products are understood to have fallen by 50 percent or more in the last six months, and the company has been particularly hit by a slowdown in the construction and automotive industries.

Newspapers said Corus will announce the cuts this week but a spokesman for the Anglo-Dutch company declined to comment on the possibility of job losses, saying only: “All steelmakers have been hit by an unprecedented downturn. Corus’s order book is down by more than a third.”

A spokesman for community trade union, which represents steelworkers, said the reported job cut figures may have been “exaggerated”, adding: “Any job cuts that damage the viability and long-term future of the steel industry will be looked on unfavourably”.

Corus has already mothballed two blast furnaces at its Scunthorpe and Port Talbot plants but, The Times reported, the slump in demand has forced it to consider “permanent changes”.

After months of speculation Britain was officially declared to be in a state of recession last week, with official figures showing the economy shrank by 1.5 percent in the final three months of last year, following a 0.6 percent fall in the third quarter of 2008.

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