A friend had been trying to contact her husband all day. While I was with her this afternoon, he called from Llanwern. Her first urgent question was “have you still got a job?” The question was asked several times throughout the conversation, just to make sure. He is okay for now.
Her husband explained to my friend the demographic changes than are about to take place, as he understood it, in the British steel industry. Llanwern was earmarked for run down and mothballing well before the present publicised downturn and it had begun. (I have known this since last Autumn, so it is a fact).
There will be some packages offered to people due to retire in the near future. With the changes in state pensions ages taking effect, these arrangements could be financially beneficial to people in that position. These redundancies will be called natural wastage. The packages will not be offered to people Corus/TaTa want to keep. A number of workers will be re-located to Port Talbot. There will be another tranche of people who will be unemployed. This includes workers at other sites like Rotherham.
Corus are minimising their overheads and of course, are drastically reducing production of different lines of steel work. (Sadly, some people were laid off just before Christmas).
The company are also saying that they are planning for an upturn and are not completely closing any work site. That being the case, there is a great degree of far-sightedness in the present difficult planning arrangements.