Corus, owned by the Tata Steel Group, has announced plans to cut 400 jobs at its distribution arm, saying it had been operating in a "volatile and fluctuating" market.
The proposed job losses will be spread across Britain, including 100 in the West Midlands, nearly 100 in North Wales, 50 in South Wales and 50 in Leeds, the steel giant said Thursday.
"The impact and continuation of the global economic downturn is having a major effect on steel customers in the automotive, construction and plant and machinery markets. Since September, the business has seen a significant decline in demand," the company said.
"As a result, Corus Distribution has introduced a series of actions to reduce expenditure on transport, consumables, energy and other discretionary spending. However, these actions alone will not be sufficient to offset the decline in the market."
"Corus Distribution is committed to ensuring it will do everything possible to assist those people leaving the business, and will be putting in place a range of support services designed to help them through this difficult time," it added.
Corus Distribution employs 2,400 workers at 36 sites in Britain and Ireland.
Roy Rickhuss of the steelworkers' union Community said: "We welcomed the original Corus approach to the current downturn - to avoid knee-jerk reactions and not just cut jobs - so we are disappointed this has not been followed in Corus Distribution.
"Support will be available from Community's education and training arm, Communitas, to help redundant workers retrain and find new employment."