800 jobs to go at Port Kembla steelworks

Updated November 6 2012 - 2:21am, first published August 21 2011 - 10:38pm
800 jobs to go at Port Kembla steelworks
800 jobs to go at Port Kembla steelworks

Unions predict BlueScope will shed 330 contractor jobs at Port Kembla, bringing expected job losses to more than 1100 in the Illawarra.BlueScope Steel this morning confirmed it will axe 800 jobs at its Port Kembla plant as it closes the No 6 blast furnace.Another 200 jobs will go from its Western Port hot strip mill.The company has reported to the Australian Securities Exchange a $480 million loss on its export business. Along with a write down on assets, this amounts to a $1 billion loss.

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  • Full text of BlueScope's announcement to ASXBlueScope will retreat from its export business and focus on meeting domestic demand for steel.Entire sections at the plant will be closed. The No 6 blast furnace is due to close in early October, reducing raw steel production to 2.6 million tonnes a year.Jobs will also be cut at the No 4 cokemaking battery, the No 3 steel-making furnace and No 1 slab caster.The hot strip and cold rolling mills, metal coating and paint lines will continue to operate.However shift pattern changes will be implemented at the sinter plant, bulk berth, raw materials and the No 3 paint line which will result in reductions.BlueScope will offer voluntary redundancies but it is expected forced redundancies will be required.Contractors for BlueScope and suppliers will also be affected.During a press conference outside the Port Kembla steelworks today, Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said 330 contractors will also be cut, brining the total number of job losses in the Illawarra to more than 1100."The impacts of today's announcement will be wide-ranging and will be felt across Wollongong," he said.The withdrawal from the export business looks permanent. Should domestic production step up the No 6 furnace would be refired but this would take six to 12 months.A job centre will be set up at Port Kembla and at its Western Port factory in Hastings, Victoria.The company will be meeting with the union today.High commodity prices and international competition has badly affected BlueScope’s profits. But the high Australian dollar has been the killer.

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