The steel industry has been under increasing duress due to imported steel and foreign industries producing more steel than the whole of Europe combined. It was announced last week that as a result of this strain, 270 Scottish jobs will be cut at, Tata Steel, in wave of job cuts affecting the whole of the UK.
Tor Farquhar, HR Director of Tata Europe commented on the cuts from Dalzell steelworks in Motherwell.
‘The biggest challenge is really the Chinese steel industry and the amount of imports coming into Europe, which is the same tonnage as the whole steel capacity of Europe.’
This is not the first time the steel industry has been struck by devastating job losses. In 1992, Ravenscraig steelworks was closed. This led to the dramatic decline of steel production in Scotland and the loss of 770 jobs, (however, this number is direct losses only and the knock-on effect the area suggests the actual figure to be higher).
John Pentland, Labour MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw commented on the situation and highlighted the Ravenscraig closure and its long term effects on the area.
‘We are still recovering from the damage done by closing Ravenscraig. It shattered this area, and in Motherwell and Wishaw we are still picking up the pieces, trying to rebuild and regenerate the local economy, jobs and communities.’
The announced job cuts could spell the end of Scottish steel production entirely. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has established a Scottish Government Steel Taskforce, chaired by Business Minister, Fergus Ewing in an attempt to prevent further job losses and keep Dalzell and Clydebridge steelworks open.
Sturgeon is troubled by the events and recognises the importance of preserving the steel industry.
‘This is a very anxious time for Tata Steel employees and their families and is deeply concerning for everyone involved…My government is determined to fight for a future for our steel industry.’
This news comes as a blow to the Scottish economy which is already struggling and more job losses in Scotland will further affect the rate of unemployment which is higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK.
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