We spotted the following report on netbusiness
THOUSANDS of workers at Redcar’s Teesside Cast Products site were boosted today by news that the steelmaker had secured orders to keep the plant operational until the end of October.
Since April, when the international consortium responsible for buying nearly 80% of the plant’s output abandoned a 10-year deal, employees have been living in fear of redundancy.
Earlier this month Corus said it was extending its consultation period with staff as the site’s order book had been bolstered until the end of September.
But today’s announcement will keep the plant busy until the end of October while work continues to secure a long-term future for the site.
Union bosses today described the announcement as "great news".
GMB regional organiser Jimmy Skivington said: "It gives us an better opportunity to talk to people interested in the business.
"And all the time the situation in the steel market as a whole is improving."
Fragile signs of recovery in the steel market were strengthened this week when it emerged that some steelmakers were preparing to bring idled blast furnaces back to life.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, is preparing to relight fires from Ohio to Ukraine, while Corus is reviving strip steelmaking capacity at Llanwern in South Wales.
A rise in demand for construction strength steel in Asia has also boosted Teesside’s Lackenby beam mill with shifts increasing from 15 to 19.5, although the threat of 150 redundancies remains.
Whist we welcome to the cautious optimism regarding activity in the steel sector it’s important to see the situation in context. Service centres have been de-stocking for over a year now, and raw material at distributors and manufacturers is very low. Against this background it is inevitable that at some time those stocks have to be replenished. It is difficult for anyone to assess accurately how much of the demand is due to an economic upturn or simply bringing stocks back to a minimum level.
The steel manufacturers in recent years have demonstrated that they use any upturn in order intake as an opportunity to increase prices, and we are seeing evidence of this again.
Most economists are forecasting a very slow return of consumer confidence and economic activity, and a rapid increase in raw material prices could possibly slow or halt that recovery. We hope that the steelmakers adopt a cautious and responsible attitude, even if recent history does fill us with confidence.