2,800 jobs to be affected as Tata Steel invests in more sustainable technology

Credit: AdobeStock/welshpix
Credit: AdobeStock/welshpix

2,800 jobs are to be affected by Tata Steel UK’s decision to transition from legacy blast furnaces to more sustainable Electric Arc Furnace technology in a £1.25 billion investment at its Port Talbot plant.

The proposed investment is supported by the UK government, which has committed up to £500 million to enable the transformation. Tata Steel plans to invest £750 million in the project, alongside funding for a comprehensive support package for affected employees, business restructuring and transition costs as part of its long-term commitment to UK production.

The plan follows discussions with the UK Steel Committee in which Tata Steel UK said it did consider their endorsed proposal for maintaining a single blast furnace but decided that continuing blast furnace production would no longer be affordable or feasible during the transition.

The transformation would secure most of Tata Steel UK’s existing product capability while, it claims, reducing the business’ emissions by 5 million tonnes per year and overall UK country emissions by about 1.5%.

Tata Steel will now commence statutory consultation on the proposed restructuring plan and support arrangements for the 2,800 employees expected to be potentially affected, out of which around 2,500 roles would be impacted in the next 18 months.

Port Talbot’s two high-emission blast furnaces and coke ovens would close in a phased manner with the first blast furnace closing around mid-2024 and the remaining heavy end assets would wind down during the second half of 2024. The proposal also includes a wider restructuring of other locations and functions across the company, including the intended closure of the Continuous Annealing Processing Line (CAPL) in March 2025.

The business will continue to operate the hot strip mill through the proposed transition period and in future. In addition, the downstream and steel processing centres would continue to serve customers by utilising imported semi-finished steel from Tata Steel plants in the Netherlands and India as well as other select strategic suppliers.

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