Sheffield steelworks 'managing the impact' on jobs due to pandemic

A Sheffield steelworks says it has been forced to ‘manage the impact’ on jobs due to plummeting aircraft sales in the pandemic.

Friday, 19th February 2021, 3:00 pm

Liberty Speciality Steels in Stocksbridge said the downturn had placed ‘significant pressure’ on the business.

No jobs figures have been released. The site employs 900 and is home to the High Value Manufacturing division which supplies the aerospace, oil and gas and general engineering markets.

The news comes a day after Rolls-Royce warned 75 jobs were at risk at its factory in Rotherham making blades for turbo-fan jet engines.

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Liberty Steel in Stocksbridge has suffered in the pandemic.

A Liberty spokesman said: “While demand from Liberty’s core infrastructure market is buoyant, the severe downturn in the aerospace sector over the past year has placed significant pressure on Liberty’s speciality steel business in Stocksbridge.

“We continue to manage the impact on our customers and workforce while we adjust to challenging conditions.

“As is always the case, any developments in the business will be communicated to employees and stakeholders first in an appropriate and respectful manner.”

In January last year, Liberty Speciality Steels announced 250 jobs in Stocksbridge were at risk. At the time aerospace, was about half of income and “booming” but oil and gas and engineering were down year-on-year.

Liberty Speciality Steels Stocksbridge Re-melting section

Previous redundancies were in 2016, under previous owner Tata, and in 2009.

In Rotherham, Rolls-Royce says it is working with trade union Unite to reduce the losses through voluntary severance or redeployment. The next nearest Rolls site is in Derby.

The Advanced Blade Casting Facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham employs 200.

Some 99 jobs were saved last summer when the union fought for staff to go on furlough.

An ingot in the VAR furnace (Vacuum Arc Remelting) furnance at Liberty Speciality Steels Stocksbridge

A Rolls-Royce spokeswoman said the unprecedented impact of the pandemic had led to weaker demand from customers. In May last year the firm announced it would cut its global workforce by at least 9,000 roles, some 8,000 in the civil aerospace. In November, it said about 420 shop floor roles in civil aerospace would go.

She added: “We recently gave our local impacted teams a breakdown of the around 420 roles, which includes a proposed reduction of 75 at our site in Rotherham. We also re-opened Voluntary Severance to employees across the majority of our civil aerospace UK sites.

“We have been working closely with the trade union to mitigate roles through voluntary severance and redeployment.”

A worker preparing an ingot to go into the VAR furnace (Vacuum Arc Remelting) at Liberty Speciality Steels Stocksbridge

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We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.