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British Steel saves 250 jobs but Scunthorpe coke ovens will close

British Steel

The 250 British Steel jobs under threat by the closure of its coke ovens will be saved as the company offers alternative roles to staff hit by the closure.

As part of an effort to surmount global economic challenges, the company will offer alternative roles to those who face redundancy as a result of the decision.

When the news was announced in February, unions stressed the need for more employees across the board.

Read More: British Steel to cut jobs as factory closes amid fears for the future of the industry

Now following a full review, the employee representatives have confirmed they will not object to the proposal.

A British Steel spokesperson said: “In the coming months we will press ahead with the closure of the coke ovens and we are pleased to say all employees affected by this decision will be offered alternative roles in the business. We appreciate this has been a difficult time for everyone involved and I’d like to thank our people and the trade unions for their professionalism throughout the consultation process.”

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The company's energy and carbon bills have risen by £190 million, and it has stated that decisive action is needed due to the unprecedented rise in running costs, rising inflation, and the need to improve environmental performance.

Read More: British Steel could cut 800 jobs in Lincolnshire

The coke ovens are reaching the end of their operational life, and their closure will have environmental benefits like reduced emissions to air and water.

The closure led to 330 people engaged in consultations over their futures.

British Steel will now import coke rather than produce it, and while worries about the effect on independence in the steelmaking process have been raised, it will no longer be opposed.

The company is undergoing the most significant transformation in its 130-year history, and the spokesperson stated it is continuing to look at other potential cost-saving measures across the business.

They also urged the UK Government to provide more assistance with decarbonisation, with negotiations ongoing.

Read More: UK government to hold crunch talks with British Steel owner over 2,000 job losses

The spokesperson added: “Jingye has invested £330 million in capital projects at British Steel during its first three years of ownership but we also need the support of the UK Government with whom we remain in talks.

"We are looking forward to rapidly progressing these discussions as Jingye is committed to transforming our business with planned investments providing the government can give assurances of a competitive landscape for energy and carbon.

“Our decarbonisation strategy is underpinned by our Low-Carbon Roadmap, which will help secure low-embedded carbon steelmaking in the UK.

"However, we are still waiting for the British government to adopt the correct policies and frameworks now to back our drive to become a clean, green and successful company.

"Governments in the countries where our major competitors operate have adopted such policies and the longer we wait for their implementation in the UK, the more impact this will have on our competitiveness and the country's ability to meet its carbon objectives.

"We are committed to working with the government and to making the home-made steel Britain needs for generations to come.”

Read More: Threat of ‘thousands’ of redundancies looms at British Steel

Major ongoing projects comprise the installations of a £54 million billet caster and a £26 million mast service centre, along with a near £50 million upgrade to its wire rod mill.

Other investments consist of £30 million on new unloaders for British Steel’s port facility, £14.6 million for enhancements in energy operations and £9 million for a new rail stocking facility. All developments will advance British Steel’s product quality, range and service.

Responding to the announcement, Scunthorpe MP Holly Mumby-Croft said: "This is fantastic news for workers and their families, and will provide certainty in what I know was a very worrying time.

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"I’ve made it clear at every opportunity that we need to be able to make steel here in the United Kingdom, and nowhere else can do this like Scunthorpe. Steel is a national, strategic asset that we rely upon in every aspect of our lives.

"The steelworks are facing major challenges and have been negotiating with the Government on a support package. Throughout these negotiations, I have been in close contact with ministers, British Steel and our community. I will, of course, continue to push for a deal that supports the long-term future of the steelworks.

"I would encourage all parties involved to work together to achieve this but today I want to congratulate and thank Jingye for making this decision."

SourceBusiness Live

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