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MP: treatment of steel workers 'outrageous'

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THE plight of Sheerness steel workers who are facing imminent unemployment has been taken to the Houses of Parliament.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Derek Wyatt (Lab) failed to win an adjournment debate in the Commons but made a statement about his concerns over the closure of the ASW steel works. Mr Wyatt has been campaigning vigorously since the 300-plus redundancies were announced last week.

In his speech to MPs, Mr Wyatt questioned the dealings over potential buyers for the steel mill, the approach of the receiver to the deal and the lack of intervention by SEEDA of the Government Office of the South East.

He said: "Not one person from either of these offices was in touch with the ASW management or ASW workers at Sheerness. Not one call, not one meeting, nothing. It is outrageous."

Mr Wyatt has called for the senior figures at SEEDA to resign over the ASW closure. He said: "I hope the chairman and chief executive officer of SEEDA consider their positions as they badly let down my community. They are out of touch and out of sight."

Mr Wyatt has asked the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the way the receiversÕ deal with the Celsa steel company was handled and OFT officials have agreed.

Mr Wyatt told the Commons that said the receiversÕ job was to extract the highest price for his list of creditors.

No one appeared to regulate what the receiver did, and although the Sheerness and Cardiff plants had received government assistance over the years, it seemed the

Government was frozen out of the procedure once the receiver was appointed.

He added: ÒThis needs to be re-examined.Ó

ÒASW Sheerness is a modern plant with an outstanding management and workforce. ASW Sheerness was not closed after the holding company went into receivership in the second week of July, but its counterpart in Cardiff was.Ó

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