Steel firm Tata has warned MPs that it is under “massive pressure” and cannot rule out more job losses.
The company’s human resources director Tor Farquhar told MPs on the business select committee: “I cannot recall a time when [the situation] has been graver.”
He added that while there were no immediate plans for more plant closures, he could not rule out further job losses, as “we are under massive pressure”.
Tata recently axed 1,200 jobs from plants in Scunthorpe and Scotland, the latest in a series of cuts across the UK for the steel giant this year.
UK Steel director Gavin Stace told MPs that business secretary Sajid Javid should not have waited to ask the European Commission for approval for the Government’s energy-intensive industry compensation package.
Javid met Brussels officials this week to see whether the scheme, which would help steel manufacturers to pay green levies on energy bills, falls foul of EU state aid rules.
Stace said: “This application is a simple application… so why did this process not take a month or two, not months and months and months? It could take months and we just don’t have that time.”
Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and chair of the all-party group for steel and metal related industries, echoed Stace’s warning.
He said steel was “in one of the most grave situations it’s ever been” and brought attention to the “unprecedented” level of imports – “dumping” – of steel from China.