Uncertainty continues to cloud Tata Steel’s limestone quarry and lime kiln operation in Cumbria after the company announced it would be axing up to 1,000 jobs in the UK.

Further details of Tata Steel’s “transformation” in response to a “severe” international steel market, have now emerged just a few weeks after it warned as many as 3,000 jobs could be cut across its European operation.

Company bosses said while the Netherlands is set suffer the brunt of job losses, with around 1,600 expected to go, up to 1,000 workers will lose their jobs in the UK, and a further 350 elsewhere.

Two thirds will be office-based or management roles.

Around 35 people work at Tata Steel’s distinctive limestone quarry and lime kiln operations at Shap, close to junction 39 of the M6.

The site is part of Tata Steel’s strip products arm and supplies products to the giant’s operations at Port Talbot, in Wales, Ijmuiden, in the Netherlands and Duisburg, in Germany.

Fears remain high that Port Talbot could be in line for the biggest hit on jobs in the UK, and it remains unclear if any losses there or at the major Ijmuiden operation could have a whiplash effect at the Shap site.

Chief executive of Tata Steel, Henrik Adam, defended the company’s decision in light of heavy criticism from unions.

“I understand and appreciate colleagues' concerns about these proposals,” he said.

“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.”

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the steelworkers’ trade union Community, accused Tata Steel of “management failure” for which its workers would have to “pay the price”.

“We have been presented with short-term plans, which only create worry and uncertainty and do little to inspire confidence,” he said.

“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.”

He added: “This is a consequence of management failure to have a plan B following the collapse of the joint venture with thyssenkrupp.”

Tata Steel and German multinational thyssenkrupp AG – respectively the third and second biggest producers of flat carbon steel in the European Economic Area – ditched the 50-50 venture in May this year when it became apparent the European Commission would block the deal due to the potential impact on competition.

in-Cumbria understood that the joint venture had the potential to bring in more work to the Cumbrian site.

Tata Steel’s top brass lamented the collapse, saying it had been critical to creating “a more sustainable business”, and warned that it would be looking at “more options” to secure its long-term future.

The company has previously said it has no intention to close any UK plants as part of the current restructure.