Britain’s largest union, Unite, called on Tata Steel to give binding commitments on the future of Port Talbot and its UK steel strips business following reports today (Thursday 7 July) that the steelmaker was planning to pause its sale while pressing ahead with a separate sale of its speciality steel business and tubes operation.
Reminding Tata of its promise to act responsibly, Unite warned the company against ducking its promises and conducting a ‘fire sale’ of its speciality steel business while allowing Port Talbot and its UK strips business to ‘wither on the vine’.
In addition to demanding guarantees over the long-term future of Port Talbot, Unite said it would be seeking further detail and assurances from Tata and prospective buyers over the sale of the speciality steel and tube business.
The reports come ahead of an expected announcement following a Tata board meeting in Mumbai, India tomorrow (Friday 8 July). Sajid Javid the business secretary is meeting with Tata later today.
Commenting Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “The cloud of uncertainty over steelworkers’ heads needs to be lifted by Tata giving binding commitments about its long-term intentions regarding Port Talbot and its UK strips business.
“We cannot be in a situation in three to four years’ time where Tata walks away from Port Talbot after leaving it to wither on the vine following a tie up with ThyssenKrupp in Europe. The Tata board needs to be aware that such a scenario would leave Tata’s reputation as a responsible employer in tatters.
“If Tata is to retain the goodwill of the workforce then its board needs to give guarantees over Port Talbot and assurances that it won’t conduct a fire sale of its speciality and tubes business.
“Port Talbot and the UK strips business can have a viable and profitable long-term future with the right investment. They have a world class workforce making world beating products.
“Unite will be pressing Tata for clarity over its intentions and ensuring it sticks to its promise to be a responsible seller and act ethically. We would urge Sajid Javid to do the same when he meets with the Tata board in Mumbai.”
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.