Caparo Merchant Bar steel workers to take longer break

More than 150 workers at a North Lincolnshire steel firm are taking an extended Christmas break to help their employer stay in business.

Staff at Caparo Merchant Bar (CMB) in Scunthorpe have agreed to take a longer, partly-unpaid, holiday over the Christmas and new year period.

Workers are being supported by the Community Trade Union in an effort to help the company.

The move aims to ease the company's wage bill in the process.

'Economic realities'

Andy McGarrigle, from the union at CMB in Scunthorpe, said the company was feeling the effects of the recession.

He said: "We do see this as a short-term problem, we're hopeful that we can see the company through these difficulties and by working with the company we can hopefully come out in the new year and see the company begin to grow.

"We understand the economic realities and... the problems across the economy, across steel-making in particular. It is a difficult time.

"It's not an easy decision to take but we've got a strong business down there and we've got some really high skilled workers.

"It's in manufacturing, it's in the private sector and these are the jobs that we need to take our economy out of the current difficulties."

Labour MP for Scunthorpe Nic Dakin said: "These are very difficult times and... people understand that it's far better to have a job at the moment and to work together with your employer to get through these difficulties than to find yourself without a job.

"They're working together to get through difficulties, which is a very sensible thing to do and I'm sure they'll get through."

CMB was contacted but declined to comment.

Community is one of the biggest trade unions for the steel industry in Scunthorpe with about 2,500 members.

Correction 6 December 2011: An earlier version of this story has been amended to better reflect the agreement reached between Caparo Merchant Bar and its workforce.

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