Corus, the European subsidiary of Tata Steel yesterday agreed to postpone the partial closure of its Teesside Cast Products plant (TCP) in the UK by a month, following a meeting with the trade union task force on Tuesday.
With the global steel sector limping back to recovery, Corus has also agreed to continue operating the 1.2-million tonne South Bank Coke Ovens (a TCP mill) for the next three years, saving the jobs of 120 workers employed at this mill.
In May, Corus Steel, Europe's second biggest steelmaker after ArcelorMittal had said that it would close the TCP unit in northeast England, after an international consortium in May pulled out prematurely from a 10-year slab steel purchasing agreement to lift around 78 per cent of TCP's 3.5 million tonnes production every year. (See: Consortium deal pull out may hit 2,000 jobs at Corus)
With TCP's main customer failing to honour a purchase agreement, Corus had said in December that it would be forced to mothball the TCP facility, which would lead to nearly 2,000 workers losing their jobs. (See: Corus to shut plant in north-east England, cut 1,700 jobs)
In mid December, a joint task force comprising the management of Corus and the union Unite was set up to explore options other than closing the plant in order to save 1,700 jobs as well as nearly 3,000 other full time jobs with contractors working at TCP and another 5,000 jobs at sub-contractors and suppliers.
Corus, meanwhile, had been trying to secure external orders on an ad hoc basis in a bid to keep the plant open while an alternative future for the plant was sought.