A Tees MP has slammed comments made by a Tata Steel boss which claimed a division of the company which employs hundreds of people in the region has “no future”.
Tata announced last Friday that 44 jobs were to go from sites including its Teesside Beam Mill, Skinningrove Special Profiles and Darlington.
The Indian giant employs around 1,200 Teesside staff; more than 700 of which are employed at Long Products, which Tata tried unsuccessfully to sell to Swiss-based Klesch Group last year.
Tata Steel Europe’s chief executive Karl Koehler has been reported as saying: “Our stated strategy stays unchanged. Long Products will not have a future within Tata Steel.
“And that means we will come to one of the possible options which I don’t need to spell out and decisions about that have to happen within the timeframe of this fiscal year, to say the very least.”
Tom Blenkinsop, the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, labelled Mr Koehler’s comments as insensitive.
“Many of the workers were already worried about their future and this only adds to those concerns,” said Mr Blenkinsop.
“Creating speculation or, indeed, playing high stakes poker with an entire steel division is not the message that Tata would want to give to Britain nor indeed internationally after painstakingly developing an excellent reputation for corporate responsibility to their workforce.
“The chief executive should rescind his comments and give clarity to his long products workforce who are still creating profits for their parent company.”
Mr Blenkinsop added: “With depressing regularity over the past seven or eight weeks, thousands and thousands of good, honest, hardworking men and women across Teesside have had their livelihoods taken away from them.
“Unless something is done fast, 700 workers could be out of a job by April next year.
“Clearly we are going through a crisis in British steel and companies, such as Tata, should hold firm before writing off sites, or whole sections, without guaranteeing a new owner at the very least.”