Severfield-Rowen to axe 93 jobs

Aaron Morby 11 years ago

Britain’s biggest steelwork contractor plans to axe around 10% of the workforce in a further restructuring round at the Severfield-Watson Structures business.

Senior managers at Severfield told workers they expected to make 93 job cuts at manufacturing facilities at Lostock, Lancashire, and at the commercial offices in South Normanton, Derbyshire.

The planned lay offs, after a process of formal consultation, will hit both factory and office based staff.

A Severfield-Rowen spokesman told the Enquirer: “It is a necessary step to address underlying operational inefficiencies within the business and allow the wider Severfield-Rowen Group to compete effectively in the challenging UK construction market.”

He added that it marked the conclusion of the previously announced reorganisation process at the Severfield-Watson business and lowered operating capacity to prevailing market demand levels.

The shake-up comes as Peter Emerson, chief operating officer at Severfield, is due to retire next month after three decades with the steel firm. So far no successor has been named.

The Severfield-Watson Structures business was set up in January to consolidate Severfield-Rowen Structures, Watson Steel Structures and site erection firm Steelcraft Erection Services.

The move was billed as delivering overhead savings of around £2m a year and saw up to 50 redundancies.

But the whole group restructuring process was overshadowed by revelations that the firm had been hit by a £20 black hole in its accounts from several loss-making contracts in February.

The biggest of these was the Cheesgrater tower in London where Severfield said it would loose £10m and is still battling to get the steelwork finished.

The firm raised £48m in a writes issue earlier this year to cover outstanding debts and the forecast contract losses.

It also tightened up its construction estimating procedures and risk management.

But rival steelwork firms say the firm is as agressive in bidding as ever.

One said: “Severfield still seems to trying to price everybody out of the market which as a strategy has never worked in the past, so its unlikely to now.”

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