British PM Cameron says talking to steel industry over job safeguards

4 June 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday his government has started discussions with the steel industry over how to safeguard jobs and highlighted the need for talks with Tata Steel (BSE: TATASTEEL.BO - news) , where workers have voted to strike.

Cameron was asked in parliament by opposition Labour lawmaker Tom Blenkinsop whether he would engage with Tata to avoid what he called a crisis in the sector.

"It is very important that government talks intensively to the leaders of the steel industry, Tata in particular, about what we can do to try and safeguard the jobs and the growth that there have been in the steel industry over previous years," Cameron said in response.

He added that discussions had already started, but did not elaborate on which parties had been involved.

Last week, employees at Tata in the UK approved what would be the biggest labour action in the British steel sector in three decades over a dispute about changes to its pension scheme.

The threat of strike action is seen as a possible deterrent to future investment in the British steel sector, which has struggled to operate profitably despite government measures to help boost the industry.

Late last year, Tata prompted a flurry of political concern when it announced talks to sell off a chunk of its loss-making mills to the Geneva-based Klesch Group.

Tata could not immediately be reached for comment.