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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Potential buyer for under-threat Tata Steel foundry

Dozens of jobs could be saved at Workington’s under-threat Tata Steel foundry as a potential buyer has stepped in.

 Tata Steel logo

Related: Fresh hope for future of Cumbria's Tata Steel foundry

It was announced last year that 75 positions were to be axed at Tata Steel – the majority of these linked to the copper foundry plant.

For the past few weeks meetings have been held between management and unions about the position of the foundry with a hope of finding a new owner.

The News & Star can now reveal that a potential buyer has been found and it is hoped a final decision regarding a takeover will be made by the end of the month.

A restructuring process is due to begin on Monday to “reduce the size of the foundry” to meet the needs of the potential buyer.

However, a Tata Steel spokesman would not confirm the number of workers who would be lost.

The news comes following a meeting held this week between unions; the director of Tata Steel Projects Craig Scott, and HR director Paul Martin.

Posters were put up around the factory, informing staff about the current position with the foundry.

It said that the foundry process was “not considered a viable business” under Tata Steel, however, a third party was interested in a potential purchase and reduced number of roles.

“Therefore we will immediately implement a restructuring process to reduce the size of the foundry operation/role to that of the likely future size required by the potential buyer,” it said.

Affected employees were asked to “make their aspirations clear” by yesterday and from Monday, the “process to enable those reductions will commence.”

A Tata spokesman confirmed that the poster was shown to all members of staff at the Workington site, but he refused to comment further on any of the points raised.

Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham has been working closely with Tata and other local organisations in an attempt to save jobs.

Sir Tony told the News & Star: “I am aware that discussions have taken place between the company, local partners and a potential buyer and a final decision is expected in the next two or three weeks.”

It was initially feared that 90 workers were to be axed at the troubled factory but the firm confirmed last year that this had been reduced to 75.

Unions and management are both in agreement that the restructuring process would continue in the FMA department which is due to cut 17 jobs and the Refurb area.

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