Speculation continues as to what Tata Steel is planning for its UK operations now that the Indian parent company has decided to sell its British steel operations.
While the likelihood of a joint venture to run the plant has not gone away, it is still a long way off, according to the head of ThyssenKrupp India, Ravi Kriplani, and now there is talk of a partnership deal for the Indian steelmaker’s entire European operation.
While Unite the Union is seeking clarity on the whole thing, the Welsh and British governments are saying nothing and Tata Steel officials are saying there are no concerns for the business following the departure of former chairman Cyrus Mistry.
The big stumbling block to any deal is the pension scheme that Tata Steel in India inherited when it bought the UK operations.
A report by Business Standard claims that the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee (NTUSCC) – an organisation that comprises union representatives from Community, Unite and the GMB – wants Tata Steel’s new chairman, the old boss Ratan Tata, to clarify the company’s stance on both the pension scheme proposals and future capital investment. The unions have not endorsed the company’s plans and demand that all workers in the UK must be entitled to a good pension.
The unions want uncertainty lifted from UK workers who, it is claimed, ‘have gone to work each day [for the last seven months] fearing for their livelihoods and the security of their families.’
While the ThyssenKrupp joint venture plan is still on the table, the unions are looking to the new chairman to grant assurances in terms of job security.