Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

NOW THERE IS HOPE; * Chance for an Extra Four Weeks' Work at TCP Plant: * 150 Jobs Safe at Coke Works: NOW THERE IS HOPE: HOPE STILL ALIVE

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

NOW THERE IS HOPE; * Chance for an Extra Four Weeks' Work at TCP Plant: * 150 Jobs Safe at Coke Works: NOW THERE IS HOPE: HOPE STILL ALIVE

Article excerpt

Byline: SUE SCOTT

A GLIMMER of hope emerged today in the bitterly-fought campaign to keep Redcar's Teesside Cast Products open.

Owner Corus said it was considering a request to give the plant a four-week stay of execution.

It has also reversed plans to close one of the most vulnerable parts of the steelworks - the South Bank coke ovens.

The decision not to sack up to 150 staff at the coke operation came on Tthe back of an exhaustive four-hour session between the company and union officials at Steel House yesterday. The first meeting of the joint taskforce - convened before Christmas but delayed due to holidays and bad weather - was described as "productive" by both sides. But Geoff Waterfield, chairman of the Multi Union Committee, who heads the Save Our Steel campaign, which has been battling to save up to 4,000 jobs, was clearly delighted with the outcome. "There is no time for mincing around any more," he said. The Government, he believed, had finally "got the message", and a rapid series of meetings over the next two weeks could signal a turning point for the works. "The political pressure is on and the indicators are all pointing in the right direction," he said. While the reprieve for the coke ovens and a likely stay of execution for the rest of the plant means campaigners earn valuable extra time, others, anxious not to lose pension entitlements, were assured that the HR process set in train on December 4 would continue.

TCP managing director Jon Bolton said the company was now exploring all options including reassessing its land use. He said it was reviewing a number of approaches which it had received recently to buy or lease part of its huge, and strategically valuable land estate. Among those interested in acquiring land is Middlesbrough based Engineering Resource Services, working on behalf of AllSeas, which, as the Gazette exclusively revealed before Christmas, hopes to bring the biggest commercial ship to a new basin on Teesside. Senior executives met with Corus last week. This Friday, leading members of the community which stands to be affected by the mothballing of TCP, are to give evidence to the North East Regional Committee at Redcar Racecourse. …

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