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Roy Rickhuss statement on the latest British Steel developments

16th August 2019

Speaking on the latest announcement that Ataer has been confirmed as the preferred bidder for British Steel, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:

“This is an important milestone, and will be hugely encouraging to the workforce and all those connected with British Steel. But we should be clear this is not yet a done deal and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us.

“We now expect to engage with Ataer to understand and scrutinise their plans for the business. As we have said from the outset we believe the business must be kept together and the future of steelmaking at Scunthorpe secured. We will want to be assured that Ataer has a long-term strategy to invest in the assets and develop the business going forward. Government of course has a key role to play in supporting that strategy.

“We will also want to discuss how Ataer proposes to re-engage the workforce at British Steel under the new company. As we know British Steel jobs are highly skilled high-quality jobs, each of which support a further four jobs in the wider economy. The high-quality jobs of the existing workforce must be secured to support the 25,000 families in North Lincolnshire and the North East that depend on British Steel for their livelihoods.

“I’d like to pay tribute to the workforce who in the face of adversity have been nothing short of extraordinary. This is a workforce that went through successive painful restructurings under Tata, that made enormous sacrifices to deliver a new future as British Steel, and then in May were confronted with the liquidation of the company. Yet in spite of all this, in the past three months the workforce have not only kept the business running, but have set new production records. This demonstrates all you need to know about the commitment of this workforce and their determination to fight for their jobs and their industry.

“On behalf of Community I think it’s also important to recognise what government has done to get us to this place where a successful sale is in reach. In particular I’d like to thank the previous Business Secretary, Greg Clark, for his tireless commitment to finding a positive solution for British Steel, and I’m confident his successor Andrea Leadsom will now be able to complete this vital work concluding in a successful sale.

“In this next phase of the process Community will continue to support our members and keep them updated on a regular basis. There is no doubt that British Steel can have an extremely bright and profitable future and we look forward to working with Ataer to bring that about.”

Community’s Save Our Steel campaign is nationally recognised, we campaign tirelessly to ensure that our members’ voices are heard at all levels.

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