Listen to Roy Rickhuss on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme discussing what this means for steelworkers and what the UK Government must now do to support the industry
The trade unions within Tata Steel UK have welcomed the announcement that Tata Steel and thyssenkrupp will form a joint venture. The unions recognise the industrial logic of this partnership and consider it the best solution to ensure the long term future of the Tata Steel UK operations.
Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, the steelworkers’ union said:
“Steelworkers have fought hard to ensure the future of British steelmaking. As part of this joint venture, we have secured significant investment across Tata Steel’s UK business, including a repair of Port Talbot’s blast furnace number five, which could see it produce steel until at least 2026.
“With a commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies until October 2026, and the first £200m of any operating profit being invested back in the business, this joint venture has the potential to safeguards jobs and steelmaking for a generation. However, this joint venture will only succeed if the necessary strategic investments are made to allow the business to thrive.
“Steelworkers have had a tough few years and have done their bit for the industry. It is important that government and business do their bit too and deliver the investment necessary to allow UK steelmaking to grow and compete in post-Brexit Britain. A key step would be the delivery of the steel sector deal, which would create new jobs and unlock investment.
“It is important our members now get the opportunity to fully understand these plans and assurances, therefore we will be consulting closely with them over the coming weeks.”
Tony Brady, National Officer for Unite said:
“Tata Steel’s UK workforce is world class and has worked tirelessly under a cloud of uncertainty to keep steel making alive in the UK. Those steelworkers have made great sacrifices in working to secure a future for Tata Steel.
“We will be seeking guarantees over jobs and investment for the UK operations of the joint venture to secure the future of UK steel. The UK plants desperately require a level playing field through investment and commitment to the long term future of steel making at Port Talbot.”
Ross Murdoch, National Officer for GMB said:
“Along with our sister unions in Tata Steel, GMB has always strived to secure jobs and long term investment for the highly skilled workforce within Tata Steel UK.
“We will continue to ensure jobs and investment remain the key underpinning priorities within any final joint venture, which must equate to opportunities for our members in the UK, particularly after the difficult and uncertain recent times they have faced.”