Kent Steel Firm Collapse

A Kent steel firm has gone into administration, putting 400 jobs at risk.

Thamesteel, which is based in Sheerness, made the announcement yesterday after hopes of an investment deal with an international oil firm fell through.

Staff have reportedly been told they will not receive their January wages, and are due to be given more information from administrators at a meeting on site today.

Thamesteel is one of the area's main employers, and unions leaders have described its collapse as  "devastating" for everybody who works there and for the wider community in Sheerness.

Michael Leahy, general secretary of the Community union said: "Community believes that Sheerness steelmaking can have a future and we will be doing all we can to save our steel in the coming weeks and months. We will also ensure that our members' rights are upheld at this difficult time.

"We are willing to work with (the administrators) to deepen and widen the search for an investor and we want to work with anybody who wants to give Thamesteel a future."

Steel-making first began at the plant on Sheppey in 1972 when the UK's first mini-mill producing steel bars rolled into action. The Saudi Arabian Al-Tuwairqi Group took over the site in 2002.

Gordon Henderson, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey has described the company going into administration as "sad news" and says he is trying to arrange an urgent meeting with the Business Secretary Vince Cable to see what help the government can give.