Media reports that Tata is proposing to sell its Trostre plant in order to push through its joint venture with Thyssenkrupp, would raise significant questions over the future of the company’s Welsh and UK operations.

Unite represents the majority of the workforce at the Trostre site and is determined to secure a long and viable future for its loyal workforce. If reports are accurate, the remedies proposal would indicate that the joint venture is no longer one of equal partners, with Thyssenkrupp emerging as the dominant force. This could potentially have grave consequences for Welsh and UK steel jobs.

Tony Brady, Unite national officer for steel, commented: “If the speculation is accurate, the sale of Trostre by Tata would demonstrate that it would be the UK workforce that would bear the brunt if the joint venture with Thyssenkrupp proceeds on this basis. Although these plans also include the sale of the Duffel site in Belgium, everything indicates that the long term strategy of the joint venture would see future investment very much concentrated on the continent.

“We are very concerned that the joint venture would become a partnership in name only, with Thyssenkrupp very much becoming the dominant partner. Decisions over future investment would be made in Germany, and will very likely benefit continental plants at the expense of its UK operations. Already we have seen the loss of 2,000 Tata Steel Europe jobs with no evidence of reciprocal pain for Thyssenkrupp employees.

“Trostre’s future viability is very much linked to the other Welsh plants, in particular Port Talbot. If Trostre is outside of the joint venture, question marks arise not only over its own future, but also over that of Port Talbot.

“Welsh steel workers’ jobs must not be used as collateral in order to get the Tata-Thyssenkrupp joint venture over the line. Our members have gone through hell over the past couple of years as we have fought to secure a future for our steel industry.

“What has not helped has been the inertia of Theresa May’s government. In stark contrast to continental Europe the UK government has done nothing to support investment in our steel industry.
“The plans announced today are only proposals and Unite will be challenging them vigorously. We will be holding urgent discussions with Tata over the coming weeks to ensure Welsh steel jobs are protected and that the company stands by existing agreements. Our Welsh operations must remain central to the future strategic direction of the joint venture.”


For further information please contact Glyn Conolly on 07974 131771

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.