Tata Steel has decided to axe 900 jobs at its British operations and close 12 sites, in what the company claims a restructuring move to improve competitiveness.

It has also decided to restart blast furnace 4 in the first quarter of 2013. This is one of two blast furnaces in Port Talbot, South Wales, which is being rebuilt as part of a £250 million investment programme.

It will also lead to the restarting of the hot strip mill at Llanwern site in Newport, South Wales. The proposal includes the restructuring of management and administrative functions which would lead to a loss of 500 jobs at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot-based production hub. “The proposed changes are expected to lead to a net loss of 900 jobs in the U.K., including 580 in South Wales, 155 in Yorkshire, 120 in the West Midlands and 30 in Teesside,” the company said.

These changes would concentrate services at six distribution and processing hubs which would benefit from £22 million of new investment, but would also lead to the closure of 12 sites, including Tafarnaubach and Cross Keys in South Wales.

In addition, shift levels at the company’s Rotherham and Hartlepool operations would be reduced to match production to lower demand for bar products and pipelines.Tata Steel will be working with the trade unions and government to ensure that it provides the affected workers as much assistance and support as possible, said Karl Köhler, CEO of Tata Steel’s European operation, in a statement.

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