More than 110 coke ovens employees to stay with the business
13 September 2023
LIBERTY Primary Steel (LPS) is celebrating a fantastic milestone following the redeployment of every coke oven employee in the lead up to the shutdown of these operations at the Whyalla Steelworks.
The GFG Alliance operation has successfully redeployed more than 110 workers within its LPS steelworks operation in Whyalla as it prepares for a scheduled decommissioning of the coke ovens on September 15*. From production workers to tradespeople, engineers and support staff … all have been found suitable alternative employment within the business.
Managing Director LIBERTY Primary Steel, Tony Swiericzuk paid tribute the company’s human resources department, training staff, team leaders and the coke oven employees themselves for embracing the change and taking up the new opportunities.
“We always have an obligation to look after those in our steelworks family and I’m over the moon that we’ve been able to do it so successfully with the coke oven employees,” Tony said.
“The closing of the coke ovens after 55 years – on our journey to an electric arc furnace (EAF), GREENSTEEL and a carbon neutral (CN30) future – is a massive change, for the better, at our steelworks.”
There has been extensive consultation with employees, unions and team leaders since it was announced in April that the coke ovens would shut in September.
This will ensure seamless redeployment at the point of closure after months of orientation days for coke oven employees in their new work environment while they also participate in training and transition programs.
“Some of our people have been working on the coke ovens for nearly fifty of those years so it was vitally important that we provided them with the right support, preparation and opportunities to continue their careers at the steelworks,” Tony said.
“To retain every one of our employees is a fantastic result and exciting that these people can continue to be a part of a very exciting journey we are on to GREENSTEEL and CN30 at the steelworks.”
The coke ovens closure is another step in the GFG Alliance CN30 (Carbon Neutral by 2030) ambition for Whyalla. Coke will be imported to feed the blast furnaces until the installation of the new EAF which will run on electrical energy.
*Note: Scheduled closure date may change due to operational schedules.