510 jobs to go at Alcan

REDUNDANCY notices are expected to be issued at Rio Tinto Alcan, putting 510 staff out of work.

Formal consultation on the possible closure of the Lynemouth smelter ended yesterday with no deal in place to save it or find a buyer.

And while further talks are due to take place with union officials next week, they say there is little hope that jobs will be spared, with most of the workforce likely to finish by the end of May.

GMB Regional Organiser Keir Howe said: “There is another meeting on Tuesday for Rio Tinto to provide more information on the questions we have asked, however there isn’t buyer on the horizon.

“It is not looking good and we expect that employees will be given their notices and leave on May 31. The discussions were quite clear and we expect that notices will be issued very soon.

“The vast majority of employees will leave on that date, but there will be some who will stay until the end of the year, or July or August, but that will be a very small amount of the workforce. There isn’t a buyer there and I can’t imagine one will come out of the woodwork in the next few days.”

Rio Tinto Alcan Corporate Affairs Director John McCabe said the company will reflect on the consultation and a formal announcement on the smelter’s future could be made next week.

“We have held our formal consultation meetings now, but it was always our intention once consultation had ended to have a short period of reflection on the outcomes and to make sure that we had answered every question that the unions had asked,” he said.

“At the final meeting a couple of outstanding issues did arise so although we won’t be going through a formal process of consultation any longer, there are a couple of points that we need to address before we can consider the outcome and start discussing what happens next.”

The company is still confident that it will be able to sell its Lynemouth power station, which employs a further 120 people, by the summer.