Tata Steel to cut the earlier identified 720 jobs at its South Yorkshire operations
Tata Steel's 720 job cuts will be across its steel bar businessReuters

Tata Steel is expected to confirm axing all of the jobs it had earlier identified at its South Yorkshire steel bar business. In July, the company had identified 720 jobs in Rotherham town to be redundant.

However, it engaged in talks with unions and staff to see if it could reduce the number of layoffs and redeploy staff. These talks seem to have failed to save any of the positions, according to The Telegraph.

Local MP John Healey said he had received a confirmation about the same from the India-headquartered steel maker. The 720 redundancies include 500 at the Aldwarke plant in his constituency, he added. "Rotherham has become the forgotten town of the steel crisis. We're being hit just as badly as other parts of the country, hundreds of job losses have now been confirmed," Haley said.

Statement from the company

In an effort to reduce losses and turnaround the loss-making company, Tata Steel has taken the decision to let go of the underperforming bar business and instead focus more on higher-value markets, a company spokesman said.

"While Tata Steel is thankful of the work done by the trade unions via their consultants, Syndex, none of the recommendations proposed would have given us the solid base required to ensure we can continue to employ around 1,500 people in South Yorkshire as we continue to operate against strong market headwinds." the spokesman added.

UK steel crisis

The UK has been witnessing a steel crisis as the industry faces intense pressure due to cheap Chinese imports and higher energy costs compounded by environmental levies and the sterling's strength. This has resulted in job cuts and restructuring across the industry.

It was reported in mid-October that Tata Steel was cutting about 1,200 jobs across its Scunthorpe and Scotland plants. In the same month, SSI UK went into liquidation after it announced the closing of one of Britain's biggest steel makers in Redcar, resulting in 1,700 job losses, while billionaire Lord Paul's Caparo Industries announced the closure of four of its units resulting in 452 job redundancies.

The UK steel crisis has so far resulted in the loss of about 5,000 jobs.

Government action

The UK government has pitched to the European Union to approve giving state aid to steel companies to cut their energy bills. While it is still waiting for the consent, last week's Autumn Statement promised to bring in an exemption for so-called "energy intensive industries".