Tata Steel locks horns with union over 3,000 job cuts

Daniel Fowler
November 28, 2019

Tata Steel has announced that it plans to cut 1000 jobs in the United Kingdom as part of wider restructuring proposals.

Tata said the move was created to "safeguard its long-term future" and "build a financially strong and sustainable European business". "We want to know about investment, what the future holds and all they've done is come up with this bad proposal just to cut jobs", he was reported as saying.

Media captionWhat is the future for the United Kingdom steel industry? The programme is focused on producing higher-value steels; making production processes more efficient; reducing procurement costs; and cutting employment costs by axing up to 3,000 jobs, around two-thirds of which are expected to be management and office-based roles.

It is expected that 1,600 jobs will go in the Netherlands and 350 from elsewhere in the world.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the British steelworkers' Community Union, said unionists attending Tata's talks with its European Works Council had told the company their plans were "ill-thought out, badly conceived and need to be revisited".

"In terms of job losses in Wales, we will do everything that we can to support those affected, and our ReAct programme stands ready to provide assistance to workers across the Welsh Tata Steel sites, including co-ordinated support from local partners".

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'Change creates uncertainty, but we can not afford to stand still as a company - the world around us is changing fast and we have to adapt, ' Europe CEO Henrik Adam said in a statement. It said it wanted to see "a vision for the future, which includes plans for investment".

Tata last week pointed to trade conflicts and overcapacity, and said that Europe had become "a dumping ground for the world's excess steel capacity".

David Rees, Labour AM for Aberavon, said the "uncertainty" of not knowing where the United Kingdom roles would be cut "does not help steelworkers, their families and the wider community".

Tata employs around 300 people at its pipe mills in Hartlepool.

However, the move was put on hold and a 10-year £1bn investment plan was announced for the UK's biggest steelworks at Port Talbot - if market conditions allowed - along with a commitment to try to avoid compulsory job losses. The European commission blocked the deal citing pricing and competition concerns.

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