A last-ditch campaign to help save up to 9,000 steel jobs has been launched by a regional daily.
The Northern Echo has called for the government to bail out steelworks on its patch which are threatened with closure.
Last Friday Thai-based SSI announced it was “pausing” steel production at its facility in Redcar, which employs around 2,000 people.
A further 1,000 contractors work at the plant and thousands more in the supply chain which flows from it.
Since then, the situation has worsened with it being estimated that there is only enough material on site to keep its coke ovens running until the end of this week.
The Darlington-based Echo splashed on the crisis on Wednesday, pictured, calling on the government to ‘Save Our Steel’.
Editor Peter Barron wrote: “We do not believe that this is a case of the unions scaremongering. Throughout this most troubled period in the industry’s recent history, union leaders have played a central and constructive role in trying to establish stability. It is simply a case of stating the gravity of the crisis.”
Steel union Community has warned if the ovens become damaged it will be “more or less over” for the works.
In The Echo’s Jobs & Business pull-out on Wednesday, the paper set out the pros and cons of a government bail-out of steelmaking in the North-East.
Peter added: “We accept that there are arguments against it, not least the question of where does the Government draw the line in using taxpayers’ money to prop up an ailing private business.
“But there are special circumstances when it comes to Teesside steel. Around 9,000 jobs are at stake in an area with some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. The welfare and social implications of those jobs being lost are enormous.
!This dire economic threat comes at a time when the Government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative needs to embrace the North-East, rather than be dominated by the North-West, if it is to have any credibility.
“The closure of Teesside’s steelworks would seriously undermine the Northern Powerhouse negotiations.
“We accept that it is not easy but, if the Government can bail out the banks, it is unthinkable that so many steel jobs would be allowed to burn out.”