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Steel workers on extended holiday as slump hits

Workers at a Scunthorpe steelworks have agreed to take an extended Christmas holiday on half pay.

More than 150 staff employed at the Caparo Merchant Bar works are having up to eight days added to their annual break because of difficult economic conditions.

Andy McGarrigle a regional official from the Community union, which represents workers at the plant, told MRW the company was having difficulty because of the effects of the “tough economic climate”.

He said workers agreed to take “a maximum of eight additional days off” on top of their Christmas break, after “difficult negotiations” between the company and local union officials.

McGarrigle said the difficult economic climate is affecting steel and manufacturing badly both nationally and internationally. He said there was a lack of demand for steel, and called on the government to implement a growth strategy for the manufacturing sector.

“Unless we get some demand back in the economy it’s going to continue to be a difficult time for workers in manufacturing” he said.

CMB said extended stoppages are not uncommon in the industry, particularly when trading conditions are weak. The company said: “This action is to allow CMB to realign its stocks to current market conditions and take the opportunity to carry out essential engineering works.

“This stoppage has resulted in a limited number of short time working days for some employees. This action has the full backing of the trade union on site who continue to show great flexibility in order for the company to efficiently meet current market conditions”.

MRW has carried reports of falling prices and slowing demand for ferrous metal over recent months in our weekly market report.

Ian Kelly, chief executive of the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, told the local newspaper: “This market is going to be difficult to improve. Businesses are having to cut down on unnecessary costs to save money.”

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