Statement from the National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee
- Tuesday 9 March 2021
The news that Greensill has filed for administration, and the speculation about what this means for Liberty Steel, is extremely concerning to the unions and the workforce.
This morning the steel unions –Unite, Community and GMB - met with Sanjeev Gupta to seek assurances on behalf of our members, and to request full transparency on the challenges facing Liberty Steel. The meeting was positive and constructive, and it is clear Mr Gupta intends to secure a refinancing of the debt to provide the business with the necessary liquidity going forward. We recognise Mr Gupta’s desire to see Liberty Steel succeed, and recognise also his personal contribution in giving distressed UK steel assets a new lease of life.
The unions have told Mr Gupta our priority is to secure the future of all Liberty Steel’s UK assets, and to this end all options should be considered. Liberty Steel is a strategic business for the UK, producing high quality steels for sectors of the economy including defence, energy, aerospace and engineering. Liberty Steel is also a low carbon steelmaker, and the assets must be central to any strategy to decarbonise our steel industry.
Last week the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, convened a meeting of the Steel Council to bring new focus on supporting our sector to decarbonise. We have been encouraged by the government’s commitment to taking on this challenge, and the growing consensus that to build back better and greener we need a strong and sustainable steel industry. No other UK company can produce the specialist steels made by Liberty’s UK operations, and so a future must be found to prevent us having to rely on high carbon imports from countries that don’t play by the same rules.
Given the strategic importance of Liberty’s steel operations, and their fundamental importance to delivering the UK’s climate objectives, we believe government must take an active role to facilitate a comprehensive solution that safeguards the future and protect jobs. Following today’s meeting we will meet with our senior representatives from across Liberty Steel UK, and therefore at this stage will be making no further comment.
Notes to editors:
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.