Today 13th November the board of Tata Steel Group made a decision to work towards the sale of Tata Steel Netherlands to the Swedish steel company SSAB. If the sale is completed it would mean separating Tata Steel UK and Tata Steel Netherlands, which have been progressively integrated since British Steel and Koninklijke Hoogovens merged to form Corus in 1999.
Responding to the announcement Roy Rickhuss CBE, General Secretary of Community, said:
“These are unprecedented times for our industry. For years we have been battling against a perfect storm of global overcapacity, unfair trade, Brexit-related uncertainties and of course now COVID-19.
Since 2016 Tata have looked at various strategic options for Tata Steel Europe. It appears the sale of Tata Steel Netherlands to SSAB is now their intended way forward.
We should be clear this announcement marks only the start of a process and a sale is far from inevitable. Through the consultation process we will look in detail at the proposals and fully assess all the implications for the UK businesses.
We will challenge Tata at every turn and rest assured we will protect our members’ interests. Should we conclude the separation of Tata Steel UK would place our members’ livelihoods at risk then we will vigorously oppose the break-up of the company.
Tata must now reaffirm their commitment to the UK and bring forward investment that demonstrates they will live up to their social responsibilities to the workforce and steel communities.
It is high time for the Government to stand up and be counted. There is no doubt a sustainable future for Tata Steel UK depends on Tata and the Government concluding a deal that will support the transition to low-carbon steelmaking. Steelworkers will not forgive either party should they fail to reach an agreement that secures the long-term future of steelmaking at Port Talbot.
There are many challenges ahead but we know Tata Steel UK can have a bright future. We take confidence from the fact our steelworkers are the best in the world. Under the right leadership, given the right tools, and the chance to compete on a level playing field, we back ourselves to compete with the world’s best.”
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