Any sale by Tata Steel of its steel packaging plants must be done responsibly and in full consultation with trade unions, the UK’s largest manufacturing union, Unite said today (Tuesday 12 February).

The call follows reports that the European Commission will this week express concerns to Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp which could ultimately lead to some of their operations, including packaging, being sold to satisfy competition concerns arising from the proposed joint venture between the two steel makers.

The joint venture, announced in June last year, is the biggest shake-up in Europe’s steel industry in more than a decade with the European Commission set to make a final decision on the transaction by 29 April. The new entity will have around 48,000 workers.

Tata Steel has three steel packaging plants in Trostre, Wales, Duffel in Belgium and Ijmuiden in the Netherlands making food and aerosol cans.

Commenting Unite national officer for steel Tony Brady said: “We are aware that the European Commission could express concern to Tata Steel over its packaging operations which could hinder the much needed joint venture with ThyssenKrupp getting the green light.

“Unite is monitoring the situation and engaging with Tata Steel as we seek to ensure that workers are not left high and dry or subject to any fire sale as a result of a European Commission ruling.

“Workers are a business’ most important asset and it is vital during this process that Tata Steel continues to act transparently and as a responsible seller should it have to offload parts of its UK operations.

“Anything less would be a kick in the teeth for a workforce that has worked tirelessly and with great sacrifice to keep the UK’s steel industry alive.”


For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869

Notes to editors  

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