Thamesteel Taskforce Meets

The government's being urged to help speed up redundancy payouts for 350 workers who've lost their jobs at Thamesteel in Sheerness.

The call comes from a new taskforce set up by Kent County Council after Thamesteel went into administration last week.

It met for the first time ealier this week, bringing together local bodies and government agencies involved in providing support for the affected steelworkers.
Chairman of the taskforce, and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development , Kevin Lynes, said: "We are all working together to look at both short term, immediate actions to provide assistance to those people who have been hit by the closure and longer term ideas to help secure a future for the site.

"By meeting as a Task Force we can make sure the workers get the best possible help as soon as possible. We are able to look at the support each of us can provide and make sure the workers get access to the help they need in the quickest, most efficient way.

Among the actions agreed are the setting up of a help desk at the local Gateway in Sheerness for people to go to for advice on a wide range of issues, and the creation of a local  job club to provide an area where people can get support looking for work.

Local employers are also being called upon to take on apprentices and students who are currently unable to complete their qualifications because of the collapse of the company.

Chair Kevin Lynes said: "We will also ask government to speed up the process of getting redundancy money to the workers. The workers could be facing a six to eight week wait, which we think is unacceptable and we would like this to be reduced as much as possible."