The north east economy suffered another hammer blow when about 220 job losses at the potash mine at Boulby, near Middlesbrough, were announced today (Thursday 12 November).
Unite, the country’s largest union which has about 800 members at the UK’s deepest mine, said this was more disastrous news for the regional economy, following hard on the heels of the announcement by SSI Redcar that it was to axe about 2,200 jobs at Redcar.
ICL, a global manufacturer of products based on specialty minerals, announced a ‘significant restructuring’ of its operations in East Cleveland with a transition from producing potash to producing polysulphate, a unique, environmentally-friendly fertiliser.
Unite regional co-ordinating officer Tim Bush said: “This is another serious hammer blow to employment in the north east, following on from the loss of 2,200 jobs at the Redcar steel plant. The region is already an area of high unemployment, which seems to be have been forgotten by government.
“We are meeting the company tomorrow (Friday 13 November) to ask for the rationale for the job losses which will affect miners, process workers and engineering staff.
“We understand that the ICL will be investing heavily in the polysulphate product, so we want to know why this entails the job losses announced today, especially as the Boulby mine is the world’s only producer of the new product, with a target of a million tonnes a year by 2020.
“We will be seeking to mitigate the number of job losses and will be strongly supporting our members in the days and weeks ahead. It is disastrous news for the workforce, their families and the regional economy.”
ICL claims that restructuring stems from the reduction in the level of economically-feasible potash reserves at Boulby, which the company estimates will be depleted by 2018 – and this is the reason for the job losses. The total workforce is about 1,100.
The company employs approximately 14,000 people worldwide, and its sales in 2014 totalled US $6.1 billion.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.