UK largest steel plant deal edging closer
5 December 2016
Tata Steel is edging closer to a deal with UK steel workers' unions to keep its troubled Port Talbot plant, the country's largest in south Wales, open until at least 2020, a media report said today.
Union leaders will put a new rescue plan to its members this week, which could see investments into the UK's largest steel plant in return for concessions on staff terms and conditions, according to 'The Sunday Times'.
Central to the plan is retention of Port Talbot’s two blast furnaces, which turn iron ore and coke into molten iron. One is due to stop production in 2018 but unions have been fighting to keep it open.
If an agreement is reached with staff, the Indian steel giant will look into partial relining of the blast furnace as an upgrade that would extend its life by several years.
The newspaper quoted sources as saying that union officials had held talks with Tata Steel bosses, including executive director Koushik Chatterjee, on the latest plan last Thursday.
They worked on a deal that would also see money injected into Tata Steel's other plants around the country, including Shotton, Corby and Llanwern.
The company has demanded curbs on the steel workers Final salary pension scheme in return for saving UK steel jobs and providing some security for the future of steel production in the UK.
"We are seeking a positive future for the UK business and during discussions with the trade unions we made substantial future assurances to achieve this," a Tata Steel statement said.