That ThyssenKrupp should 'pick up the tab' for concessions being offered to British trade unions by Tata Steel, has angered the German steelmaker's labour chief, Wilhelm Segerath, according to a report by Reuters.
It is claimed that Segerath 'sees no reason why ThyssenKrupp's plants should suffer because of job and investment guarantees offered to workers at Port Talbot'.
The two steelmakers have been in discussion over the past year with a view to merging operations in order to cut costs and reduce overcapacity; but, says Reuters, Tata's huge pension deficit in the UK is the elephant in the room and Segerath says he won't accept that ThyssenKrupp plants 'will now be endangered in a consolidation'.
According to Reuters, 'Tata has offered to guarantee production at Port Talbot, Wales, for five years and to invest across its British business in return for being able to close the final-salary pension scheme to future accrual'.
Segerath spoke of 'massive resistance' if ThyssenKrupp plants are endangered by consolidation and claimed that Port Talbot has major structural problems, having lost an estimated $1.22 million per day in its last financial year. The business has since turned a profit due to higher steel prices and a weaker pound, Reuters reports.