Steel industry suffers new blow with more job cuts in Sheffield – by Alan Tovey (The Telegraph – March 14, 2016)

The steel crisis is continuing to claim jobs in UK industry, with a round of redundancies at Sheffield-based Outokumpu and a warning from its parent company that the UK operations could be closed down.

The Finnish-owned business is consulting with staff about cutting 50 of its almost 600 staff as the steel sector battles lower global demand for the metal in the face of a global slowdown.

Steelmakers in Britain have been particularly hard hit by the crisis, as a flood of imports of cheap Chinese steel arrives in the UK attracted by the pound’s relative strength. Domestic steel-makers also face high energy bills.

Outokumpu has four divisions in the UK and in an email to staff spelling out the difficulties facing the company , chairman Kari Tutti even raised the prospect of shutting down its British operation.

“Outokumpu’s financial performance continues on a very unsatisfactory level,” Mr Tutti said. “The company has made losses for the past eight years and the outlook for 2016 remains challenging.

“The competitiveness of Outokumpu’s UK manufacturing units is also weak and we need to take significant actions in order to improve the competitiveness and to minimise the risk of discontinuation of operations in the UK.”

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