Wednesday, May 25, 2016

News: Tata board set to meet as steelworkers march on London

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Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, has met with bosses at Tata in Mumbai to discuss the sale of its UK assets ahead of a planned board meeting today.

The Indian-owned steelmaker concluded that it is exploring all options for portfolio restructuring including the potential sale of Tata Steel UK, in whole or in parts. The formal process began on April 11 with contact made with 190 potential financial and industrial investors worldwide.

Seven bids were immediately taken forward to the next stage of the sale process whilst Tata Steel Europe clarified outstanding points with a number of other parties who submitted an expression of interest. There have been constant rumours since the sale process started of who the bidders are, and even Tata themselves may consider keeping some UK assets.

Mr Javid said that there were "several credible bidders in play" and that he was "determined to keep momentum and find right buyer."

Angela Eagle MP, the Shadow First Secretary of State and Business Secretary, said: "We sincerely hope a suitable bid can be found which preserves the blast furnaces, the 15,000 high-skill jobs, and our domestic steel-making capacity.

"But the Tory Government must address the underlying challenges to the industry; on energy, business rates, procurement, and most importantly, preventing Chinese dumping. The Government must stop kow-towing to China and start standing up for our steel."

Hundreds of steelworkers from across the country, including from South Yorkshire are marching through the streets of London to demand the Government firstly ensure the responsible sale of Tata Steel's UK assets and secondly deliver a proper industrial strategy that supports the entire steel sector throughout the current crisis and into a profitable future.

Speaking ahead of the march, Roy Rickhuss General Secretary of Community - the steelworker's union, said: "George Osborne once said that he wanted "a march of the makers", well today he's got one. We are the steel makers and we are marching for our futures.

"For months, the "Save Our Steel" campaign has engaged hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. This march will bring steelworkers to London to focus all our attention on delivering a clear message to government: save our jobs, support our communities and deliver the fantastic future for British steelmaking we know it can have.

"Over the past few weeks I have visited every steelworks at risk. I have listened to the hopes and fears of hundreds of steelworkers and I will make sure those views are heard when Tata is assessing the various bids."

Tata Steel Europe

Images: Community Union

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