The UK and Ireland’s largest union, Unite, called on the business secretary Andrea Leadsom to guarantee the government’s continued support for British Steel and honour previous commitments on research and investment necessary to facilitate the smooth sale of the steelmaker.

The call comes as preferred bidder Ataer’s 10-week exclusive access to British Steel's books draws to a close tomorrow (Thursday 24 October).

Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “The future of 5,000 direct jobs across the UK and a further 20,000 in the supply chain depend on securing a long-term future for British Steel.

“Today I have written to the business secretary Andrea Leadsom requesting an urgent meeting. It is vital that the government continues to stand behind British Steel until the sale process is finalised to maintain customer, supplier and workforce confidence in a company which can have bright future.

“This includes honouring commitments on research and investment which assist the smooth sale process of British Steel and a recognition that the success of the steelmaker is central to any future UK industrial strategy.

“A failure to do so puts at risk the possibility of British Steel’s sale and a strategically important business which provides 95 per cent of the UK’s rail tracks and supplies other UK steelmakers with product, alongside its strong export portfolio.

“In addition, ministers must tackle the underlying problems facing the steel industry. This includes high business rates and energy costs which leave UK steelmakers paying twice as much for electricity as their competitors in France and 50 per cent more than in Germany.

“The government must also use its buying power to put UK steel at the heart of major UK infrastructure and defence projects as part of a joined up industrial strategy that supports UK manufacturing.”


For more information journalists only please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 [email protected]

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.