Tatas face British strike as ministers try to stop layoffs | business | Hindustan Times
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Tatas face British strike as ministers try to stop layoffs

Tatas could become the first Indian industrial group to face a major strike in Britain after unions hinted at “strategic action” by workers to thwart a decision by Tata Steel-owned Corus to mothball a plant in northeast England.

business Updated: Feb 18, 2010 22:32 IST

Tatas could become the first Indian industrial group to face a major strike in Britain after unions hinted at “strategic action” by workers to thwart a decision by Tata Steel-owned Corus to mothball a plant in northeast England.

Corus, the European arm of Tata Steel, is due to mothball its Teesside Cast Products plant at Redcar on Friday, with 1,600 redundancies and, regional authorities believe, job losses for up to 8,000 workers in the local supply chain.

Terry Pye, who heads the steel section in Britain’s largest workers’ union Unite, raised the possibility of industrial action, saying: “We will be calling on our members at the other Corus sites to take strategic action to force the company to take heed to the offers it is receiving to save the plant.”

Junior minister in the department of business, skills and innovation Pat McFadden met Tata executives on the sidelines of a meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industries in New Delhi on Tuesday, sources said.

Corus says it was forced to take the decision after an international consortium of four companies “illegally” reneged on an agreement last April to buy 78 per cent of the steel slabs produced at the plant for 10 years.

But Unite and the local mayor have written to government ministers and Corus executives saying there is at least one credible potential buyer.

Corus said: “We cannot comment on specific merger and acquisition issues. We have always maintained that there is a possibility that steelmaking could resume if a buyer were found.”