Saturday, 28 August 2010

Saved!

THE mothballed Corus steel plant on Teesside is to be sold to Thai firm SSI.
The plant was partially closed when an international consortium suddenly walked away from a long-term contract to buy its products and Corus refused to consider developing the plant.
More than 1,000 workers at the Teesside Cast Products site lost their jobs and there were fears that the plant would close altogether, leading to thousands more job losses across the region.
Behind-the-scenes moves began this summer to sell the plant to SSI, with union leaders and local politicians visiting Thailand to meet company executives.




The announcement today that the factory was being sold to SSI raised hopes that many of the jobs will be saved, giving a huge boost to the North-East region, which is heavily reliant on the steel industry for employment.
Union officials warmly welcomed today's great news.
Unite national officer Terry Pye said: "Last year this site was pronounced dead, but thanks to the intervention and determination of the workforce and their unions to find a buyer, this steel plant has been brought back to life.

"The deal secures jobs for the future and generates wealth and opportunity for the local community. This is fantastic news."

From a personal perspective I was present at the Save Our Steel March at Redcar in July 2009 and witnessed just how much the industry means to the town.
At the time I felt that the campaign should have developed into a national issue for the whole of the Steel Industry to organise around but it wasn't to be.
However the involvement of the unions and the community in persuading Corus to listen to the prospective buyer is a testament to what can be achieved by unions and a united community joining together to save jobs and securing a future for their area.

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