Unions meet to discuss growing crisis of steel industry
Leaders from various steelwork unions are to gather in London to discuss plans and press government for help
Union leaders will meet to discuss the crisis gripping the steel industry as efforts continue to save thousands of jobs.
Shop stewards from steelworks across the country will hold emergency talks in London on Monday and will continue pressing the government for help.
The meeting comes amid reports that Marc and Nathaniel Meyohas, the brothers behind the Greybull investment firm, are putting the finishing touches to a buy-out of Tata’s Scunthorpe steelworks.
The Daily Telegraph reported that they are ready to pour £400m into the struggling Lincolnshire plant, saving about 9,000 jobs.
Business secretary Sajid Javid has signalled ministers are working on plans to reduce energy costs and take on some of the pension liabilities in an effort to attract a buyer for Tata’s loss-making UK assets. Business minister Anna Soubry is due to visit Rotherham steelworks on Monday.
Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said of Monday’s meeting: “After a tumultuous few days this will be the first time representatives from all the steel unions from across Tata Steel can come together to discuss the industrial crisis facing the industry.
“They will be doing so with a determination to fight for their industry, their communities and to save our steel. But if they are to be given a fighting chance then the government and Tata need to come clean on their intentions and prior discussions, because so far all we’ve had is more questions than answers.
“The apparent lack of urgency from Sajid Javid and absence of a clear plan from the government is disturbing for the tens of thousands whose livelihoods hang in balance and deeply troubling for British steel’s 140,000 pensioners.
“The confusion and lack of government leadership of the past few days strengthens calls for a recall of parliament and underlines the need for the prime minister to take control and meet steel unions as a matter of urgency.”
Roy Rickhuss, leader of the Community union, said:
“This meeting will be a key moment in our campaign. By now, no one underestimates the scale of the challenge we face. We have an entire industry to save and not a lot of time to save it. We must also ensure that we hold Tata to a commitment to be a responsible seller and honour its moral and social duties to UK steel communities.
“Community has called this meeting so that our reps can relay the concerns of members and join together and shape the next stage of our campaign to save our steel.”