Union pledge on Hartlepool steel mills

The Tata Steel site in Hartlepool.

The Tata Steel site in Hartlepool.

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The hard work continues to secure a bright future for steel mills in Hartlepool - after a major breakthrough for the industry elsewhere in the UK.

Steel unions say they have a commitment from Tata to secure the future of jobs and production at Port Talbot and other steelworks across the UK.

We will continue to work hard with the companies involved to secure the investment necessary to ensure those businesses grow and that our members are protected

Roy Rickhuss

A number of “significant” measures include keeping two blast furnaces at the South Wales plant for five years, a commitment to seek to avoid compulsory redundancies for a similar period, a 10-year investment plan of £1 billion and consultation on replacing the pension with a defined benefit scheme.

The future of Tata plants has been in doubt since its UK business was put up for sale in March.

Tata employs thousands of workers, including more than 4,000 at Port Talbot, and others at Trostre and Shotton in Wales, Corby, Hartlepool and at sites in the West Midlands.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said: “The past year has been incredibly difficult for steelworkers and their families. When Tata announced in March that they planned to sell the steelworks, no-one knew if they would have a job by Christmas.

“This proposal would secure jobs for years to come and bring serious investment not just to Port Talbot but to steelworks across the UK.”

But he added: “This is not the end of the process and it will be for all our members to now vote on this proposal. We will continue to work closely with Tata and all levels of government as we seek to build a sustainable future for Britain’s steel industry.”

Mr Rickhuss also pointed out: “We recognise that today’s announcement does not cover the Speciality Steels business in South Yorkshire or the SAW mills in Hartlepool.

“We will continue to work hard with the companies involved to secure the investment necessary to ensure those businesses grow and that our members are protected.”

Koushik Chatterjee, Group Executive Director Tata Steel and Executive Director for its European business said: “The agreement between Tata Steel UK and the unions today marks an important step forward in the journey to develop a sustainable future for our UK steel business.

“These are unprecedented times for the steel industry globally with multiple risks including global economic uncertainty, slow manufacturing growth and currency volatility which continues to present significant challenges to the business.”