TRADE unions in the UK have urged Tata Steel to rethink about its latest move to axe jobs in the country.
The trade union leaders have described the Indian steel giant’s plan to slash 1,000 jobs as “atrocious” when the British steel industry is moving ahead in a chaotic situation.
Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the steelworkers’ union Community, noted that the timing of the announcement was “atrocious and scandalous”, especially as Tata had been talking of investment in the business rather than job cuts.
Unite officer with national responsibility for Tata Steel Tony Brady said: “The figure of 3,000 job losses across Europe has been subject to media speculation, but we don’t believe that job cuts are the answer – what top executives need to examine is reversing years of underinvestment.
“Unite is supporting the European Works Council in demanding that the company reconsider its plans and come back with a robust and comprehensive set of proposals that can be discussed in a constructive manner.
Brady accused Tata of pursuing a break-up of the business and outsourcing work to India.
“We appreciate the UK industry faces unique challenges such as the high energy costs compared with its European competitors, but we will not stand by and let one of the cornerstones of British industry be taken apart piece by piece,” he said.
Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said it was not prepared to stand by and let possible job losses to go ahead at the Port Talbot plant in Wales and at other sites across the UK, which employ a total of about 8,500 workers.
Unite’s stance follows a meeting on Wednesday (27) of the European Works Council of Tata Steel Europe (TSE) with the executive committee (ExCo) of TSE.
The main topic on the agenda was the transformation programme announced by Tata Steel, following the collapse of the joint venture discussions with ThyssenKrupp.
This week Tata Steel signalled 3,000 job cuts, with 1,000 of those in its UK operations.
The South Asia-based conglomerate is the largest player in the British steel industry. It employs about 8,000 workers in total.
The company operates the UK’s single largest steelworks at Port Talbot with a staff strength of 4,000 people followed by other steel houses in south Wales which employ a further 1,800.
As many as 750 are employed at Shotton on Deeside in north Wales, whereas 1,500 at various other Tata operations in the Midlands and the northeast.
Welsh politicians opine that they assumed the job losses would hit Wales hardest. However, the company is yet to release further details on job cuts.