SAO PAULO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - About 3,000 workers could lose their jobs when Brazilian steelmaker Cia Siderúrgica Nacional shuts a blast furnace at its Volta Redonda steel works in Rio de Janeiro state, the local union said on Wednesday.
CSN said last week it was looking at ways to cut its steel production to adjust to weak demand. Brazil's economy is languishing in a deep recession and its once-booming auto and construction industries have contracted sharply.
The company said it expects to close its No. 2 blast furnace at the mill early next year. The mill, CSN's oldest, produces about 5 million tonnes of steel a year, or about 30 percent of its total output. The company also said it may close the furnace indefinitely.
Jovelino Jose Jusso, head of the metalworkers union representing employees at the plant, said the company has not yet announced the layoffs.
A spokesperson for CSN said the company was negotiating with the unions but did not yet know how many people will be laid off. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr.,; Additional reporting by Luciana Bruno; Writing by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)