The steelworkers’ trade union Community, has today expressed concerns about the amount of time that Tata Steel is allowing to sell its remaining UK assets. The union’s comments follow a question to the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday by Stephen Kinnock MP, also questioning whether sufficient time will be allowed for a sales process to take place. Community’s General Secretary has also responded to comments about the British Steel Pension Scheme.
Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:
“We have serious concerns that Tata Steel will not keep its commitment to be a responsible seller and will impose an arbitrary deadline that is too soon for credible investors to develop a viable bid.
“Since Tata put the business up for sale we have had various discussions with a range of stakeholders who are keen to understand the perspective of the workforce. A number of the people we’re talking to have expressed concerns about the tight timescales that Tata wants to impose.
“These are national industrial assets that are up for sale so this isn’t something that can happen overnight. Tata allowed time for the sale of its Long Products business to a credible investor, it should provide the same opportunity to bidders for the rest of its UK business. Nobody wants this process to drag on, not least because of the uncertainty for everyone involved with the company, especially the workforce. But nor should this process be rushed when there are so many things at stake, including Tata’s reputation as a responsible company.”
Responding to comments made by Stuart Wilkie, CEO of Excalibur Steel, regarding the pension scheme, Roy Rickhuss said:
“As far as we are concerned this is still speculation about the implications for the pension scheme and is just the view of one potential buyer. Potential buyers are far from the only stakeholders and Tata Steel is still ultimately responsible for the British Steel Pension Scheme. There is a long way to go in the sales process and concrete proposals need to be brought forward. We are keeping a close eye on the situation as regards the pension scheme and are in dialogue with the BSPS, Tata and the government. We are determined to uphold the best interests of our members throughout this process.”