Jan. 11, 2020 - Liberty Steel Group has undertaken a review of its UK business in response to challenging market conditions and a lingering reduction in demand for UK steel products. In light of this, the company has decided to reduce its workforce at certain plants to match sustainable production forecasts. The group reaffirmed its commitment to the UK market and sees opportunities to prosper through home-grown manufacturing of steel products, through investment in new metals technology and through application of its GREENSTEEL strategy. Liberty has concluded, however, that there is a need to reduce its workforce in South Yorkshire and South Wales in order to ensure the long-term viability and competitiveness at these locations. Subject to consultation with unions, this may result in a reduction of 355 jobs.
Those affected will be at locations in Stocksbridge, Rotherham, Brinsworth and Newport.
Liberty Steel UK CEO Mr Cornelius Louwrens said "Liberty has taken enormous strides in improving the performance of the steel mills it has acquired over the last six years. We've re-started mothballed plants and demonstrated a commitment to invest in the UK. Unfortunately, the steel industry in the UK is facing challenging conditions and we have made the difficult decision that there is a need to reduce the workforce at a handful of locations, in order to make them sustainable for the long-term. It has always been our intention, and always will be, to avoid compulsory redundancies. Therefore the creation of the GFG Workforce Solutions now offers those impacted the security of ongoing employment as an alternative. Our commitment to these steelworks, and our ambition for the future of this business, is as strong as ever."
The group is creating a new company, GFG Workforce Solutions, to enable employees impacted to remain within the GFG Alliance. Those affected will be offered either voluntary redundancy or a position within this new flexible business. Participants in Workforce Solutions will be available for deployment within GFG businesses, the GFG Foundation or via local employment agencies in roles that will complement individuals' existing skills.
Liberty’s South Yorkshire plant rolls speciality steel products used in the manufacture of vehicles, aircraft, industrial machinery and equipment for the oil and gas industry.
In Rotherham, the company has two electric arc furnaces with a combined 1.2 million tonnes per year crude steel design capacity.
The company has two rolling lines for the production of flat special steel at Brinsworth and Stockbridge.
The Newport plant was previously a mothballed site bought by Liberty in 2013, which it returnedto production in 2015.