Published: 00:00, 14 November 2002
A MASS meeting of steel workers was held today at Allied Steel & Wire's Sheerness plant after its closure was announced.
The news from the ASW Holding's receivers, KPMG, means that 320 people will lose their jobs over the next few months.
The Celsa Group, a leading steel manufacturer, has agreed to buy ASW's Cardiff plant from January next year, but although the firm wants machinery from the Sheerness site, it does not want to run it at the plant in Brielle Way.
About 190 Sheerness employeees will be made redundant over the next three weeks with the closure of the site's melt shop early this morning. The rest of the workforce will follow in a few months.
Keith Plowman, chairman of the ASW Sheerness Pensions Action Group which is battling to save the workforce's pension scheme from being wound up after ASW went into receivership, said: "It's a sad day for Sheerness and for the people involved. It means we are not just fighting for our pensions, but for employment as well."
Richard Hill and Roger Oldfield, joint administrative receivers at KPMG, said: "We are are very saddened that we have had to take the decision to cease production at the Sheerness site, but we will continue to make strenuous efforts to save all that we can."