One week ago, Tata Steel announced plans to sell off their entire UK operation. Today, the business secretary, Sajid Javid MP has finally met with Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, the steelworkers’ union, along with other union leaders. The meeting took place in advance of Sajid Javid flying to India to meet with Tata’s Chairman, Cyrus Mistry.
Speaking after the meeting, Roy Rickhuss said:
“Today’s meeting marks another step forward in Community’s campaign to save our steel. We impressed upon the business secretary the importance of the government giving a clear signal that it will guarantee production to ensure that our major customers do not look elsewhere.
“The integrity of our steel industry cannot be compromised. Tata Steel’s ‘strip’ business is a single integrated operation, dependent upon steelmaking at Port Talbot. The government must ensure that individual plants are not cherry picked by investors with no commitment to maintaining our national steel making capacity.
“Tata’s highly skilled, committed workforce will be crucial to any future success of the steel industry. That is why I have demanded that Sajid Javid convene a project steering group, on which the trade unions must be represented, to steer this whole process.
“I have asked that when Sajid Javid meets with Tata’s Chairman, Cyrus Mistry tomorrow, he must deliver a clear message on behalf of the UK. Firstly, that Tata must give a firm commitment to be a responsible seller. Our steel industry cannot simply be sold off for scrap, it should only be sold to a new owners with the patience to see allow British steelmaking to succeed. Secondly, Tata must set out the timeframe in which they expect to make a sale. This cannot be a rushed process and Tata must give the workforce, the UK Government, and any potential investors the time to agree upon a comprehensive plan to save our steel.”