Welsh Galvanized Line Expected to Idle


A hot-dip galvanized coating line in Wales is about to come to a close for economic reasons, according to media reports.

Tata Steel, which operates two galvanized lines at its Shotton plant in Deeside, announced last week that it was closing one of those lines, reports indicate. The company said that although it plans to increase production on the remaining line, about 50 jobs could be in jeopardy.

“The No. 5 hot dip galvanizing line is being idled until further notice,” company spokesman Robert Dangerfield told The Leader on Sept. 28. “This is a result of the state of the economy, the state of demand for steel and the high cost of energy in this country.”

Restructured Lines

Tata Steel has said that it hopes to ramp up production of the remaining galvanized line, which would provide jobs for several of those who work on the one about to be closed. Output at the mill will drop from about 600,000 tons to between 300,000 to 400,000 tons of galvanized steel, the paper reported.

The company said that cheap Chinese imports of galvanized steel and the high cost of energy in Wales led to the decision to idle one of its galvanized lines.

Dangerfield also told the paper that the company would try to reduce its workforce by voluntary rather than compulsory layoffs.

But the chairman of the plant’s Community union said the closure still will affect some jobs.

“It’s a bit of a blow,” Keith Jordan told the newspaper. “We are in discussions with customers about the impact on them.

“Our stance is one of no compulsory redundancies and we are hoping to get this sorted as soon as possible so people know where they stand.”

A History of Steelmaking

According to the newspaper, the No. 5 hot dip galvanizing line was built in the 1970s as part of a £46 million (US $69.7 million) investment in a coatings complex. The complex has three coil-to-coil-wide steel strip coatings lines.

The investment led to doubling the plant’s annual coatings capacity to 800,000 tons. But just 18 months after it opened, the plant cut its workforce from 12,000 workers to just 3,000 as a result of the plant stopping its iron and steelmaking at the site, the newspaper said.

That loss remains the largest job loss in British history, according to The Leader. The No. 5 line is also one of the largest manufacturing units in Great Britain at 600 meters (656 yards). The company currently employs 800 workers at the Shotton plant and 7,000 throughout Wales.

Hope for Return

Carl Sargeant, the National Assembly for Wales’ assembly constituency for Alyn and Deeside, said he was concerned about the possibility of lost jobs.

“I urge Tata to say true to their word and do their utmost to redeploy any workers that may be affected to another part of the business,” Sargeant told the Daily Post.

According to the Daily Post, a company spokesman for Tata said the company would reopen the line if market conditions improved.


Tagged categories: EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Galvanized steel; Galvanized/thermal spray coatings; Layoffs; Manufacturing Plant; Program/Project Management; Steel

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