The trade unions within Tata Steel – Community, Unite and GMB – are disappointed by today’s announcement.
Tata Steel has failed to consult at all with the trade unions before making this move, which could have serious consequences for employees and contractors right across Tata Steel, not just within the Long Products business that it wants to sell. The unions have been treated with contempt in this process as the level of consultation that we would expect ahead of such a major strategic announcement has not taken place.
We were made aware of this fait accompli two days ago which is neither within the spirit nor the letter of longstanding Information and Consultation or European Works Council agreements.
We have no comment to make about the potential buyer, the Klesch Group, as at this stage we are opposed to the principle of the sale.
We will be seeking an urgent meeting with Tata Steel chairman Cyrus Mistry, to discuss his motivation for this move and to explain the potential consequences. We want Tata Steel to take a step back and carry out the consultation with its unions, which it should have been doing in recent months when it was preparing to sell its assets.
The fact that Tata Steel wants to abandon half of its European operations and pull out of an entire strategic market does not bode well for the future and ends Tata Steel’s vision to be a global steel player.
Tata Steel has long emphasised that its European operations are ‘one company’, but today’s announcement is the final nail in that concept’s coffin.
Next week, we will bring together trade union representatives from across Tata Steel to discuss the course of action that members wish to take. We are also calling on the government to intervene in the public interest to ensure a future for industrial assets of strategic importance to the UK’s construction, infrastructure and manufacturing base.
Our immediate thoughts are with those employees, contractors, families and communities that are worried about their future and we would urge Tata Steel to follow its own code of conduct and act in the interests of the communities in which it operates by engaging in meaningful consultation with its trade unions before it progresses the terms of this Memorandum of Understanding.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.