Corus, the European subsidiary of Tata Steel, which is closing its Teesside Cast Products plant (TCP) in the UK by the end of this week, may invite industrial action by workers as union leaders have hinted that striking would be an option.
This week, Corus announced that it will mothball the steel-making part of the TCP plant this week by closing the blast furnace after running out of its stock of iron ore. (See: Corus to end 150 years of steelmaking at Teesside this week)
The closure would mean the loss of 1,700 jobs as well as nearly 3,000 other full time jobs with contractors working at TCP and another 5,000 jobs at sub-contractors and suppliers.
In May 2009, Corus Steel, Europe's second biggest steelmaker after ArcelorMittal, had said that it would close the TCP unit in nort heast England, after an international consortium in May pulled out prematurely from a 10-year slab steel purchasing agreement to lift around 78 per cent of TCP's 3.5 million tonnes production every year. (See: Consortium deal pull out may hit 2,000 jobs at Corus)
Last month Corus agreed to postpone the partial closure of its TCP in the UK by a month, following a meeting with the trade union task force. (See: Corus postpones partial closure of Teesside plant by a month)
Earlier in mid-December 2009, a joint task force comprising the management of Corus and the union Unite was set up to explore options other than closing the plant.