21 October 2015
The Bishop of Grimsby, the Rt Revd Dr David Court, said: “The news that around 900 jobs - around a third of the workforce - are to be lost at Scunthorpe’s historic steel works has not come as a great surprise to anyone, as there has been speculation about the future of Britain’s steel plants for many years.
“However, that does nothing to lessen the blow to the many thousands of people whose livelihoods depend directly and indirectly on the steel work. The impact will be felt deeply, from those who are now uncertain about their own jobs, to those who have commitments and responsibilities which depend on the income those who work at the steel works.
“It feels impossible to fight the causes and effects of this decision, which is down to global markets and economic forces, but the churches of North Lincolnshire and the whole Diocese of Lincoln are there to help people who need to try to find a way through what might be very difficult times, and to lend what practical and spiritual support we can to anyone who needs it.”
The Revd Peter Vickers, industrial chaplain in North Lincolnshire, has prepared the following prayer resources.
1. Numbers concerned: The number in Scunthorpe of 900 was higher than expected. Do remember in prayer that the number affected is more than the job losses announced. Everyone concerned has family, they too have now been placed in a time of great uncertainty. As a rough guide multiply the figure by 3.
2. People involved: First and foremost these are people that are involved, each one in need of our prayers and our help to guide them through the decisions that will have to be made.
3. Local area: Clearly the economy of the town will be affected including those whose jobs are dependent upon the orders created by TATA.
4. Local organisations: There are a number of organisations that are in a good position to help those concerned regarding questions around housing, benefits, retraining and looking for a new job. They will need our prayers as they meet to plan their response.
5. Morale: The morale of the people in the town in general has taken a hit. Nor does this announcement remove all the uncertainty for those who remain employed on the site, they continue to feel insecure about their futures. This is the start of the process as someone said yesterday “this surgery will not cure the underlying illness.”
6. Way ahead: The plate mill will not cease to operate straight away, orders already received will be fulfilled. A positive is that the plate mill has only been mothballed, should the market improve it can be restarted. Within the factory the process of crossmatch has already begun. Crossmatch is the system by which the company and the trade unions identify jobs within the site that can be done by someone threatened with redundancy. This system has worked extremely well in the past. During this consultation time people will be faced with decisions that need to be made in a timely manner and a clear head. There will of course be those who may think that the time is right to take voluntary redundancy.
“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings should be made for everyone.” 1 Timothy 2:1
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