Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp have today announced their intention to merge their European steel operations, creating Europe’s second largest steel company.
Responding to this news, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community and Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee, said:
“The steel trade unions cautiously welcome this news and recognise the industrial logic of such a partnership. This would create the second biggest steel business in Europe which could deliver significant benefits for the UK.
“As always, the devil will be in the detail and we are seeking further assurances on jobs, investment and future production across the UK operations. As a priority, we will be pressing Tata to demonstrate their long term commitment to steelmaking in the UK by confirming they will invest in the reline of Port Talbot’s Blast Furnace No.5.
“We must also be assured that ThyssenKrupp’s pension liabilities will be ring-fenced with a cast-iron guarantee that UK steelworkers will never fund German pensions.
“We are now seeking an urgent meeting with Tata to fully understand their intentions for the UK in the context of the joint venture. We are also making arrangements to bring together senior representatives from across the UK to determine our approach to this significant new development.”
“While a merger of this size will inevitably mean a review of support functions such as HR and IT, the vast majority of these roles are no longer located in the UK. We have been assured there will be no asset closures or reductions in production capacities across the UK. If the company does seek to implement compulsory redundancies we will fight that using every necessary means.”
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