A STEELWORKS in Newport has put part of its workforce on leave with half pay.

Mir Steel hasn’t been in production since the summer - but a director said there have been no redundancies at the Corporation Road plant.

It is not clear how many of the firm's 150 workers have gone on temporary leave.

Director of Mir Steel Haydn Swidenbank said: "Following a review of the current situation and delays in the re-commencement of production, the directors of Mir Steel announced on Wednesday that some of the workforce have been placed on temporary leave but will still be paid half their contractual wages until the company returns to normal production.

“There have been no redundancies at the plant, which remains fully operational, and in full readiness for the recommencement of production.”

He said the plant, which makes hot-rolled coiled steel, has not been in production since the summer, but the workforce has been paid in full until now.

The director added that the workforce remains fully ready, and said they had agreed for all staff to be called to work on full pay once the plant does commence production.

“In the meantime the plant will be kept ready by maintenance staff,” he said.

Rob Edwards, regional organiser at the Community steelworkers union, said: “It’s devastating for the workers. It’s coming after the Christmas period, and no doubt they are looking at household bills. It’s going to be very difficult.”

He said around 150 people work there.

International steel and minerals group Liberty Commodities took over the Mir Steel plant last year on behalf of a consortium of Dubai-based Indian investors.

It had previously been owned by billionaire industrialist Vadim Varshavsky who took over the Newport site after Alphasteel went into administration on December 20, 2007.