The UK and Dutch trade unions within Tata Steel have released the following joint statement regarding the proposed joint venture with ThyssenKrupp.
The Tata Steel European Works Council does not support the package of remedies proposed to the European Commission by Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp to address competition concerns. The EWC recognises that responsibility for the remedies package lies with the shareholders, and demands that the shareholder of Tata Steel Europe meets with the EWC to explain their actions.
The EWC believes that the way this process has been handled is completely unacceptable. Furthermore the EWC profoundly regrets the fact the workforce at the sites in question found out about the potential sale of their business through media reports.
The EWC believes that should the proposals be accepted, and the relevant businesses be sold off, the joint venture will become an entirely different project. We will therefore need to work with our experts to fully assess what the proposals mean for the sites in scope for divestment, the remainder of our European supply chain, and the future of the joint venture.
The EWC will continue to support the joint venture only if we consider it to be in the best interests of the workforce at all our sites. Due to these recent developments we are now unconvinced the joint venture is the best option for Tata Steel Europe.
The remedies package reinforces our increasing concerns that the joint venture is not a partnership of equals. We are seriously concerned about the balance of power within the joint venture and believe that future strategic decisions may prioritise the interests of the ThyssenKrupp operations over those of Tata Steel Europe.
The shareholder agreements stated that in establishing the joint venture 2,000 jobs would go from each of Tata Steel Europe and ThyssenKrupp. However if the remedies proposals are accepted and delivered in excess of 2,000 jobs will be lost from Tata Steel Europe but with no evidence corresponding reductions will be made on the other side.
The EWC Chair, Frits van Wieringen, and the EWC Secretary, Roy Rickhuss CBE, have written jointly to the Chairman of Tata Steel, Mr Chandrasekaran, seeking an urgent meeting to address the concerns of the EWC. The response from the Chairman, and the assurances he can give, will be crucial in determining the EWC’s position on the joint venture.