Union bosses have accused Tata Steel of “management failure” after the company announced it will be cutting up to 1,000 UK jobs.
The proposals are part of a new business “transformation” which will see a total reduction of employee numbers of up to 3,000 across Europe, the firm said.
Up to 1,600 job losses are also expected in the Netherlands and 350 elsewhere in the world – of which two thirds will be office-based or management roles.
Tata said the move is designed to “safeguard its long-term future” and “build a financially strong and sustainable European business”.
But Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the steelworkers trade union Community, said he was “seriously concerned” about the direction Tata was taking.
“We have consistently called for a vision for the future, which includes plans for investment. Yet again that is lacking,” he said.
“We have been presented with short-term plans, which only create worry and uncertainty and do little to inspire confidence.
“It feels like the company is just managing decline and we need a significant change of direction that can inspire the workforce that they have a future.
“This is a consequence of management failure to have a plan B following the collapse of the joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.”
Mr Rickhuss added that union members should not have to “pay the price” for Tata’s mistakes.
“We are surprised that Tata have released this statement, which is against the spirit of what Tata have agreed to do today.
“It shows a complete and utter contempt for the workforce as we told them that their plans are ill-thought-out, badly conceived and need to be revisited.”
Henrik Adam, chief executive of Tata Steel in Europe, acknowledged the concerns raised by workers, but defended the company’s decision.
“I’m very proud to see the dedication of everyone in this business, determined to succeed even in the face of a very tough market,” he said.
“I also understand and appreciate colleagues’ concerns about these proposals. Change creates uncertainty, but we cannot afford to stand still as a company – the world around us is changing fast and we have to adapt.
“Our strategy is to build a strong and stable European business, capable of making significant investments needed for a successful future.”
Tata previously stated there would be no UK plant closures.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “While this is a commercial decision for Tata Steel Europe, we are monitoring the situation closely and remain in regular contact with the company, unions and other partners throughout this process.”