Save Our Steelworks: Union reps make the case for keeping ‘profitable’ Shotton open

Reporter:

David Humphreys

UNION representatives from across Welsh steel plants have met to discuss the future of jobs.

Members of Unite the Union from Shotton and across Wales met at the Port Talbot plant on Friday to review the current situation surrounding the steel industry.

Representation was made alongside Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke, national officer Harish Patel and senior regional officer for Wales, Tony Brady.

 

Among the topics up for discussion were the ongoing Unite Save Our Steel campaign and agreement on further options to keep the momentum building to ensure the long term goal of securing the long term future of the steel industry within the UK.

A spokesman for Unite the Union at Shotton said members from the Deeside site were keen to reiterate the plant’s profitability and viability.

“Both business elements of Shotton Steel Works are profit making. Shotton Works has a name associated with quality since 1896 and is the world and European leader in pre-painted products since the 1960's.

“Shotton continues to deliver excellent performance with its unique differentiated product range. The workforce is highly skilled, flexible and streamlined, the unique business model within the UK Steel industry allows us to meet market demand and continue our trend of delivering a healthy profit even in the very hard economic trading environment we have been facing since 2008 and in the steel industry crisis known as the perfect storm.”

The meeting was held as the management buyout group interested in purchasing Tata Steel’s UK assets met with bankers to seek financing for the deal.

However Tata UK executive Stuart Wilkie, who leads the Excalibur Steel group, told Reuters he expects up to 1,000 jobs to be lost from the UK workforce and expects the UK Government to back its stance on funding support and a potential minority stake.

He said: “All the discussions we’ve had with government are in line with that.”

Tata’s pension obligations is thought to be sticking point for parties keen to take on the business.

The retirement fund is estimated to be in deficit by around half a billion pounds.

Mr Wilkie added: “We would expect the government in conjunction with the pension regulator, the company and trustees of the pension would close the pension scheme and make it secure.

“If the liability for the pension was on the table, then everybody would walk away.”

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read