Monday, October 10, 2016

News: South Yorkshire steelworkers wait on sale

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Steelworkers in Rotherham and Sheffield are being left in the dark as discussions continue over the sale of Tata's Speciality Steels business, unions say.

At the end of March, the Indian-owned steelmaker concluded that it was exploring all options for portfolio restructuring including the potential sale of Tata Steel UK, in whole or in parts. Following a board meeting in July, the steelmaker decided on a separate process for the potential sale of its Speciality Steels business, which until recently employed over 2,000 people at sites like Aldwarke in Rotherham and Stocksbridge in Sheffield.

Tata confirmed the progress of its divestment of the Specialty Steel business and the pipe mills in Hartlepool in its financial results for the quarter to June 30 and it was revealed in September that two bids had been submitted for the speciality steel business in its entirety, including the two businesses in Rotherham (at Aldwarke and Brinsworth Strip Mill).

Senior officials from Community have spent the past week meeting with members at the steelworks and have now called on Tata to come clean on the state of their sales process and let their loyal workforce know what their future will hold.

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Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said: "While so much focus is on the sale of Tata's Strip business and the uncertainty surrounding the pension scheme, Community will not allow Speciality Steels to become the forgotten part of the steel crisis. With over 2,000 direct employees and many thousands more in the local supply chain, this business is of huge importance to the South Yorkshire region.

"When Tata announced that they wanted to sell the business, we called on them to act as a responsible seller. The continued lack of information about that process and the worry this has caused amongst their loyal workforce is highly irresponsible.

"Community has always said that we will play our part as a responsible stakeholder in helping safeguard the future of the business, but having committed to involve the trade unions in the sales process, Tata have yet to share details of potential buyers. Speciality Steels has every chance of a bright, profitable future, but this will only be possible if Tata ensure a new owner is able to invest in the business and build a positive relationship with the workforce.

"The months of uncertainty and delays must end today. Tata must come clean about the state of the sales process and fully involve the trade unions in helping to build a new future for this vital industry and its highly skilled workers."

Tata Steel Europe website

Images: Community Union


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