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Corus begins mothballing

Corus Teesside Cast Products plant is beginning the mothballing process today after failing to find a long-term solution to rescue it.

Responding to rumours of a possible eleventh hour bid Corus said: There has been speculation about potential last-minute bidders for the plant. Corus' position remains unchanged. This is a mothballing, not a permanent closure. TCP will be kept ready for a restart. Corus remains open to credible offers for TCP.

The plant, which employs 2,300 people, announced in December that 1,700 people would be made redundant as a result of the partial mothballing. The news came after a consortium of four customers reneged on a ten-year contract to buy almost 80 per cent of the plants business after just three years.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson visited the plant yesterday while business minister Pat McFadden visited India to speak to Corus owners Tata Steel.

The BBC quoted Lord Mandelson yesterday. He said: Politically, we are not going to walk away from this plant. We stand full-square behind it.

We will do everything we can to bring it out of mothballing and back into production as everyone around here wants to see.

Corus has been criticised by trade union Community Union after it told them it is now time for the trade unions and Government to turn their attention to rebuilding the British economy, to reviving activity in the construction industry and to ensuring that there is a viable and sustainable future for manufacturing in the UK.

Community Unions National Executive Council is endorsing plans to allow Tata Corus members to ballot for industrial action. This would include the at-risk workforce on Teesside but could also include the Teesside Coke Ovens and Beam Mill and other sites across the country.

General secretary Michael Leahy said: Tata Corus has a moral and social responsibility to the workforce and to Teesside. However by continually stonewalling potential buyers and offtakers Tata Corus is signing the death warrant for more than 100-year tradition of steel making on Teesside.

During the visit, Mandelson announced £2.4 million funding for those already on training courses at Corus and are at risk of redundancy, or might not be able to complete their course due to the recession. An additional £1.4 million package was also made available for those in the Tees Valley wishing to start up a company or expand existing ones.

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