Tata Steel commits to staying in Britain: Trade unions
Tata Steel has pledged to stay in Britain with a £1.0-billion investment plan to support steelmaking at its Port Talbot plant in Wales and elsewhere, unions said Wednesday.business Updated: Dec 07, 2016 22:55 IST
Tata Steel has pledged to stay in Britain with a £1.0-billion investment plan to support steelmaking at its Port Talbot plant in Wales and elsewhere, unions said Wednesday.
“Steel unions have today secured a commitment from Tata Steel to secure the future of jobs and production at Port Talbot and other steelworks across the UK,” read a statement issued by trade unions Community, GMB and Unite.
“This proposal comes eight months after Tata announced their original intention to sell their UK steel assets.”
A number of “significant” measures include keeping two blast furnaces at the South Wales plant for five years and a commitment to seek to avoid compulsory redundancies for a similar period.
Tata will commit to a ten-year investment plan of £1.0 billion ($1.3 billion, 1.2 billion euros) to support Port Talbot and secure the future of other sites.
And it will launch consultations on closing and replacing the costly old British Steel pension scheme which it inherited with the purchase of steelmaker Corus in 2007.
The unions added that, after meeting with company executives at the Port Talbot facility, the latest proposal was “welcome”.
“The past year has been incredibly difficult for steelworkers and their families,” said Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union.
“When Tata announced in March that they planned to sell the steelworks, no-one knew if they would have a job by Christmas.
“This proposal would secure jobs for years to come and bring serious investment not just to Port Talbot but to steelworks across the UK.”
Earlier this year, Tata Steel had announced that it was considering the sale of its loss-making British assets, blaming the decision on a global oversupply of steel, cheap imports into Europe from countries including China, high costs and currency volatility.
At the start of July, it revealed that it was holding strategic discussions with several companies, including German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp, over the possible formation of a joint venture for European steel operations.
In late November, the company agreed to start exclusive talks for the sale of its speciality steel assets to metal processing firm Liberty House.
Tata currently employs around 11,000 people in Britain.