London: Tata Steel on Friday said it will cut 900 jobs in the UK and close 12 sites as part of major restructuring of European operations to make it an "all-weather" steel producer, capable of succeeding in difficult economic conditions. "The proposed changes are expected to lead to a net loss of 900 jobs in the UK, including 580 in South Wales, 155 in Yorkshire, 120 in the West Midlands and 30 in Teesside," the Indian steel giant said.
The company is proposing to make changes at a number of steel finishing and processing sites in the UK, Tata Steel said in a statement. Sites to close include Tafarnaubach and Cross Keys in South Wales, while shift levels at the company's Rotherham and Hartlepool plants will be reduced to match production to lower demand for bar products and pipelines.
"Today's proposals are part of a strategy to transform ourselves into an 'all-weather' steel producer, capable of succeeding in difficult economic conditions. These restructuring proposals will help make our business more successful and sustainable, but the job losses are regrettable and I know this will be a difficult and unsettling time for the employees and their families affected," CEO of Tata Steel's European operations Karl Kohler said.
A Welsh government spokesman said, "This is very disappointing news, and a massive blow to those who will be losing their jobs. The Welsh Government has a very strong relationship with the company and officials will now work with Tata to establish a task force and identify what support we can provide for those affected."
Kohler said the company will be working with the trade unions and government at national and local levels to ensure maximum possible assistance and support to them. Tata Steel said it will re-start one of the two blast furnaces in Port Talbot, South Wales, being rebuilt as part of 250 million pound investment in the first quarter of 2013.