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British Steel workers across Europe call for business to be sold together

Community - 31st May 2019

“The EWC believes the best outcome is for British Steel to be sold as a whole and not broken up and sold off piecemeal.”

Representatives of British Steel workers in the UK, France and the Netherlands have called for the business to be sold “as a whole” in a statement released today by officials of the British Steel European Works Council. The senior officials of the European workforce said in a statement:

“The EWC is profoundly concerned that British Steel has been put into liquidation under the Official Receiver. This is an extremely distressing time for the workforce and their families who are seriously concerned about their livelihoods and their communities.

“However we also believe that British Steel is fundamentally a good business and can have a bright future under new ownership. Greybull Capital should stand aside to help facilitate a successful sale process.

“The EWC believes the best outcome is for British Steel to be sold as a whole and not broken up and sold off piecemeal. British Steel’s steelmaking supply chain is tried and tested and disruption of the chain would be damaging to Scunthorpe and to the satellite businesses in the UK, France and the Netherlands.

“The UK government should do everything in its power to deliver a successful sale and the authorities in France and the Netherlands must do all they can to support the process. The stakes are high and the process cannot fail; 25,000 jobs and the future of entire communities depend on getting this right.

“British Steel is a European business and the sales process should be transparent with representatives from all countries kept informed. The European workforce is ready to fight for the future of British Steel and we urge all stakeholders to support us.”

The statement was signed by Gregory Zabot, European Works Council Chair from the CFDT union in France; Martin Foster, EWC Vice Chair from Unite, UK; Alasdair McDiarmid, EWC Secretary Community, UK; and Wim van der Wal, FN Steel representative from the FNV union, in the Netherlands.

Commenting on the statement, Alasdair McDiarmid, Operations Director at Community and one of the signatories, said:

“This sends a strong message that there is a united workforce across Europe ready to make a success of the business under new ownership and with the right support from government. The steelmaking supply chain must be retained and the business kept together to protect jobs across Europe.”

The call was issued after the UK’s official receiver confirmed that it had received 80 expressions of interest from potential purchasers.