SSI Task Force Pushes Ahead With Support to Workers
The Chair of the SSI Task Force, Amanda Skelton, has outlined some of the support which is available to people affected by the SSI crisis.
Over the last week a number of rapid response sessions have been taking place at SSI for employees, and some sub-contractors also attended. These drop-in sessions have provided information on the kind of support available for example debt advice, information from the national careers service and what welfare benefits are available. Around 800 people have been in the sessions so far.
Agencies involved on site include Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Jobcentre Plus, Trade Unions, National Careers Service, Citizens Advice Bureau, MIND, Pensionswise and the Five Lamps voluntary agency.
A support hub has also been set up, which is providing one to one support in the longer term in relation to benefits, pensions, debt advice, assistance back to work or starting a new business, training and development, and wellbeing.
Jobcentre Plus has also appointments available for general support and access to the national careers service – people can call 0191 382 1003 between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday to book.
A Jobs Fair is taking place on Wednesday 14th October at the Redcar and Cleveland Leisure and Community Heart, Ridley Street, Redcar between 10am and 4pm.
Chair of the SSI Task Force and Chief Executive of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Amanda Skelton said: “Our primary aim is to ensure that people get the help and support they need – right from the immediate questions about what benefits people can access and information on job vacancies, to longer term advice about retraining or setting up your own business. More detailed work is on-going to look at the skills that people have and match them to relevant job opportunities. As well as supporting the workforce, the Task Force is working to identify suppliers who have been affected by SSI going into liquidation and provide help and support to them.
Other areas the Task Force is working on include assessing the economic impact of the mothballing of the iron and steelmaking facilities and suggesting ways of mitigating this and ensure that the mothballing takes place securely. It is also looking ways in which to allocate the financial support package from Government and we will be speaking to people affected to find out what they most need.
The impact that this is having on people within our community is huge. It really is important that people do not feel that they are on their own and access the help and support available to them.”
A webpage has been set up for people with information and advice at www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/taskforce. It contains a booklet called ‘Moving Forward’, a practical guide to redundancy and help finding your next job.
One North East steelworkers wife, Anna Maven has been writing about her experiences throughout all this - you can read her blog here