Tata to decide fate of UK steelworks

Posted by Warren Fyfe on March 29, 2016 in Warren Fyfe Site

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UK union leaders have held talks in India ahead of a Tata Steel board meeting that could decide the fate of thousands of workers.

Officials from the Community union had “constructive” talks with Tata Steel representatives in Mumbai, where the board will meet on Tuesday.

The future of thousands of UK steelworkers is at stake.

The Port Talbot plant in south Wales suffered most of the 1,000 job losses announced in January.

Unless Tata goes ahead with a turnaround plan, the future of the huge plant could be in doubt.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, along with Stephen Kinnock, MP for Aberavon, and Frits van Wieringen, chairman of the Tata Steel European works council, met in Mumbai with senior representatives of Tata Steel ahead of Tuesday’s board meeting.

A Community spokesman said the meeting was “open and constructive”, with the European delegates making the case for Tata to continue to support the UK business.

“Tata Steel representatives outlined the context of commitment to the UK business to date, financial performance and the challenging global conditions of the steel sector,” he added.

More than 35,000 people have signed an open letter to Tata Steel chairman, Cyrus Mistry, in support of the UK steelworkers.

Mr Rickhuss said: “In Mumbai, I’ll be standing up for the whole UK steel industry and asking Tata to give us the chance we need to succeed.

“Steel is the very foundation of our manufacturing base; even the prime minister has conceded that it would be simply unacceptable for Tata to end our steelmaking capacity.”

Mr Kinnock told the BBC: “What we need now is Tata Steel to hold its nerve to back the plan and we can move forward, get the steelworks back to break even and then, over a longer period, getting it really operating in surplus again.”

Steelworkers and companies have called for more action from the government to tackle cheap Chinese steel imports and high energy costs, which have been blamed for thousands of job cuts.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35913482#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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