Production at huge steelworks in Stocksbridge and Rotherham set to 'stop temporarily' due to cash crisis

Production at Liberty Steel in Rotherham and Stocksbridge is stopping from Friday with staff going on furlough, according to the Financial Times.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 12:37 pm

The unprecedented move could affect up to 1,600 people working at several sites within the Speciality Steels business. It has been hit by plunging aerospace orders due to the pandemic.

The FT stated work was ‘stopping temporarily’.

A union source told The Star: “It is our understanding that workers have been furloughed after today. Given the amount of the product that goes into aerospace, which is on its knees, it is not a total surprise.”

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Furnaces at Liberty in Rotherham.

A spokesman for GFG Alliance, Liberty’s parent company, refused to comment on details of day-to-day operations but said some UK businesses would be ‘operating intermittently’.

He added: “Some UK businesses will be operating intermittently, which can and will be achieved without compromising the condition of the plants. We are working closely with the trade unions and will be making use of the government furlough scheme for employees where possible in those circumstances.”

Last month The Star reported the firm was ‘managing the impact’ on jobs due to plummeting aircraft sales in the pandemic, although no figures were disclosed.

The crisis went public this week when lender Greensill collapsed into administration, raising fears for all 5,000 Liberty jobs nationally.

Liberty Speciality Steels, Stocksbridge. Picture: Chris Etchells

Some 762 people work in the High Value Manufacturing Division of Speciality Steels in Stocksbridge It supplies the aerospace, energy and industrial engineering markets.

Speciality Steels also employs 865 across three businesses in Rotherham.

Earlier this week GFG boss Sanjeev Gupta said that while the group was in a strong position, some parts of Liberty Steel were lossmaking.

Now, he is in a race to find new financing.

Re-melting section at Speciality Steels Stocksbridge.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.