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Paper's plea to safeguard thousands of jobs

More than 5,000 people have joined a Facebook group backing a campaign run by a north-east daily bidding to safeguard thousands of steel workers jobs.

Earlier this month the Evening Gazette relaunched its successful Save Our Steel campaign which is calling on the Government to boost Corus with a time-limited wage subsidy.

Now the Facebook group, which at the time of writing had 5,520 members, has seen an outpouring of anger about the threatened steel plant.

Around 2,000 jobs are under threat at Teesside Cast Products Plant (TCP) after a consortium backed out of a ten-year plan to keep steel production on Teesside.

Unless a rescue package can be sorted, a blast furnace in Redcar, near Middlesbrough, will be mothballed. A 90-day consultation process is currently on-going.

It is being estimated that the knock-on effect of this could see the loss of 10,000 jobs in the region.

The Evening Gazette originally launched the Save Our Steel campaign in 2003 after 1,700 jobs were placed under threat.

As 2004 drew to a close it emerged that an overseas consortium had agreed the ten-year deal to supply its businesses for the next decade.

The Gazette’s campaign launch message said: “We call on Prime Minister Gordon Brown and business secretary Lord Mandelson to deliver more than words.

“The Gazette has revived the Save Our Steel campaign, which helped to rescue Corus in 2003.

“And as politicians quickly got behind us, it was clear this time the fight transcended party lines and even party policy.

“So far, the Treasury has refused to match the subsidies available from other European governments to keep strategically important industries alive through recession.

“There has been emphatic support, too, for our call for extra help for the 60 young apprentices who stand to lose everything if Corus closes.

“Finally, the Save Our Steel campaign is calling on the government to guarantee that all publicly-funded building contracts will use British steel.”