Liberty Steel puts 440 jobs at risk

Liberty Steel put 440 jobs at risk as it plans to mothball three factories.

The company announced on Thursday that plants in West Bromwich, Newport and Tredegar would be made idle, while production in Rotherham would be scaled back amid soaring energy costs.

Liberty, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, said it would restart production “when the market and operating conditions allow”.

Jeffrey Kabel, Chief Transformation Officer for LIBERTY Steel Group said: “Refocusing our operations will set the right platform for LIBERTY Steel UK’s high-quality manufacturing businesses to adapt quickly to challenging market realities. 

“The support of our marquee customers will enable us to produce high value, differentiated products through 2023 and beyond for strategic sectors such as aerospace, defence and energy. 

“We remain committed to our longer-term growth plans in the UK including our plan to grow Rotherham into a 2 million tonne green steel hub.

“While our action is expected to regrettably impact the roles of some of our workforce we will provide a level of guaranteed salary and out placement opportunities through our unique Workforce Solutions programme as an alternative to redundancy. 

“Liberty’s shareholder Sanjeev Gupta has supported the business through a very difficult period and remains committed to the workforce here in the UK and ensuring our lower carbon operations help deliver a sustainable, decarbonised UK steel industry.”

Alun Davies, national officer at steelmakers’ union Community, said the announcement of possible job losses was “devastating”.

He added: “Since the collapse of Greensill Capital the trade unions have supported the company because we believed that delivering the company’s business plans, which were audited and backed by the unions’ independent experts, was the best route to safeguard jobs and the future of all the businesses.

“However, the plans we reviewed were based on substantial investment and ramping up production, including at Liberty Steel Newport, and did not include the ‘idling’ of any sites.”

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