Britain’s largest union, Unite called for ‘cast iron’ commitments following today’s announcement (Friday 8 July) by Tata Steel to retain Port Talbot and its strips business while pressing ahead with a separate sale of its speciality steel business and tubes operation.
Reminding Tata of its promise to be a responsible seller, Unite said it would seek to engage positively with prospective buyers of Tata’s speciality steel and tubes business.
Cautioning that the ‘devil would be in the detail’ the union said it would be pressing Tata for further detail on today’s announcement and guarantees over its long-term commitment to Port Talbot and its strips business.
Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “It has been a desperately uncertain time for steelworkers and their families, who will no doubt have many questions about what this announcement means for them and their industry.
“Workers in Tata Steel’s strips business which includes Port Talbot will want to know precisely what the steelmaker’s long-term plans are, while those in the speciality and tubes division will want the assurance that Tata will sell to a responsible buyer.
“Over the coming days, Unite will be holding Tata to its promise to be a responsible seller and seek to engage positively with prospective buyers of its speciality steel and tubes business.
“Unite will also be pressing Tata Steel for cast iron guarantees over its intentions for Port Talbot and its strips business. The rollercoaster of uncertainty the world class workforce has been on must end.
“With talk of a tie up with ThyssenKrupp, this announcement cannot result in the managed decline of Port Talbot while capacity is shipped elsewhere. With the right support and right investment steelmaking in Port Talbot and across Tata’s strips business can be profitable and sustainable.
“We will continue to engage positively with Tata Steel and work with the government and other stakeholders to find the best solution for the British Steel Pension Scheme without it going into the pension protection fund.”
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.