LONDON (AP) -- Britain's Corus, Europe's second-largest steel producer and a subsidiary of India's Tata Steel, said Friday it will lay off 1,700 workers in northeast England in January because a major customer has broken a contract.
Corus said a consortium of four companies has ended a 10-year contract signed in 2004 to buy about 80 percent of the output from Redcar Blast Furnace, Lackenby steelmaking and the South Bank Coke Ovens.
All the plants are in the Teesside area, about 250 miles (400 kms) north of London.
"We are acutely aware that this will be devastating news for our employees, our contractors, their families and the local community," said Chief Executive Kirby Adams.
"We extend our sincere gratitude to all of them, as well as to the management team and the trade unions on Teesside, who have all worked night and day to try and avoid this outcome."