Thyssenkrupp to cement Tata Steel deal with offer to workers
11 December 2017
German steel group Thyssenkrupp has backed its deal with Tata Steel Europe with commitments on jobs and investments to get workers' support for the merger of their European steel operations, reports quoting sources close to labour union IG Metall said.
Thyssenkrupp is facing workers' opposition to the deal, which they fear, will cause more job losses in an industry already hit by redundancy. The company has already announced reduction of 2,000 steel jobs and the merger will only help to add to that number, they say.
IG Metall has demanded 10-year guarantees for jobs, plants and investments and has set a 22 December deadline for an agreement.
Thyssenkrup management and labour representatives will discuss details of the offer at a meeting on Tuesday.
German weekly Bild am Sonntag on Sunday cited Thyssenkrupp personnel chief Oliver Burkhard as saying in an internal memo that the industrial group was prepared to make commitments on future investments and job security.
"We are prepared to make wide-ranging commitments on the topics that are most important to our employees," the paper quoted Thyssenkrupp personnel chief Oliver Burkhard as telling managers in the memo.
"That concerns for instance securing sites, future investments and job security. With our proposal, we want to secure jobs at the future joint venture into the next decade," he said.
Chief executive Heinrich Hiesinger hopes to reach a final deal with Tata Steel in early 2018 after Thyssenkrupp's supervisory board, where labour leaders hold half of the seats, approves it.
''If the employer's side wants to move forward now, then that's a signal to which we will respond,'' Knut Giesler, the head of IG Metall in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia said.
Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel had in September agreed to merge their European steel operations, creating Europe's second largest steelmaker with revenues of €15 billion ($17.7 billion).
Tata Steel, meanwhile, said it has completed a £1.3-million upgrade of its Metallurgical Laboratory at its Port Talbot site allowing the company to further improve the quality of steel products used in the automotive sector.
The investment replaces steel-strength testing equipment and upgrades facilities with the latest robotic testing equipment, supporting efforts to ensure products continue to meet or exceed customer requirements.
Tata Steel supplies almost 50 per cent of the steel for UK carmakers, for use in body panels, chassis components and wheels. Increasingly these are technologically advanced high strength steel grades.
Tata Steel said this announcement is part of a series of planned investments the company is making in its UK business to strengthen reliability and allow the development and production of high-performing steels demanded by customers.