Scunthorpe steelworks
Richard Bell

British Steel to cut 400 jobs despite £21m Q1 profit

British Steel is set to slash hundreds of jobs across its European operation.

The company has announced plans to cut 400 jobs, despite reporting a profit of around £21m in Q1 2018.

In the UK, the company employs 4,000 people across sites in Scunthorpe, Teesside and Workington.

In a BBC report, one spokesman for the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee called the announcement a “body blow” for British Steel’s UK workers.

The statement read: “The workforce [has] already made huge sacrifices to make the business sustainable.

“We recognise these are challenging times for UK steelmakers, and it’s high time the government stepped up and delivered for us by supporting investment in strategic steel assets.”

The job cuts will hit managerial and back office positions at British Steel sites in the UK, Ireland, France and the Netherlands.

The decision follows the 2015 steel crisis, when investor Greybull Capital stepped in to save thousands of jobs by acquiring Tata Steel’s Long Products Europe business.

The deal, completed for just £1, created British Steel Limited.

Commenting on the job cuts announced today, British Steel executive chairman Roland Junck said changes in the industry demanded continued investment and “more agile and efficient operations”.

He explained: “To help us achieve this, we have to make difficult decisions and our plans unfortunately include the proposed reduction of 400 roles across our global workforce.

“We’re sad to be making this announcement, particularly for our colleagues who could be affected. The skill and dedication of our employees has helped us come a long way in a short period of time.”

Speaking further, Mr Junck said: “However, it’s vital our transformation continues so we can build a sustainable future for the whole business, nearly 5,000 employees and many more people in the supply chain. We’re confident these proposals will help achieve this.”

British Steel chief financial officer Gerald Reichmann called the decision “unfortunate”, adding: “By focusing on profitable, niche products I’m confident we’ll create a long-term future for our business and the communities in which we operate.”

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