UK narrowly avoids recession after economy flatlined
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British Steel has proposed closing the coking ovens at its Scunthorpe plant, costing 260 jobs.
The Chinese-owned firm said that “global economic challenges” left it with little choice but to announce the closure.
Jingye Group said the move would combat financial pressures, with union leaders threatening strike action in response.
In a statement, the group said: “Decisive action is required because of the unprecedented rise in operating costs, surging inflation and the need to improve environmental performance.”
Xifeng Han, chief executive of British Steel, said the decision would “reduce costs within our control” and decried the state of steelmaking competition in the UK.
He said: “Steelmaking in the UK remains uncompetitive when compared to other international steelmakers.
“Our energy costs, carbon costs and labour costs are some of the highest across the world, which are factors that we cannot influence directly.
“We’re disappointed at having to make such proposals but are confident they will support a successful transformation.”
Coking ovens produce coke – a vital component for iron and steel manufacture – by heating coals.
The proposed closures would mean British Steel turns to importing coke supplies instead of creating its own.
Union bosses have pledged to protect jobs on the chopping block, and called for officials to disclose the company’s financial filings.
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