Talks held on future of steel

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool.
Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool.
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UK union leaders travelled to India for crucial talks with a steel giant which is set to lay off hundreds of workers, including more than 60 in Hartlepool.

Officials from the Community union had “constructive” talks with senior representatives for Tata in Mumbai.

In January Tata Steel confirmed it was slicing 1,050 jobs off its UK operation, including its Hartlepool site, which will shed 62 posts out of a town total of 500 steelworkers.

The Port Talbot plant in South Wales bore the brunt of the job losses, but unless Tata presses ahead with a turnaround plan, the future of the huge plant could be in doubt.

A spokesman for Community said: “The meeting was open and constructive. The European delegates made the case for Tata to continue to support the UK business.

“Tata Steel representatives outlined the context of commitment to the UK business to date, financial performance and the challenging global conditions of the steel sector.”

More than 35,000 people have signed an open letter to Tata Steel’s chairman Cyrus Mistry in support of the UK steelworkers.

Mr Rickhuss said: “No-one underestimates the scale of the challenge we are facing but our steel industry is of vital importance to our communities, our families and our nation. In Mumbai, I’m standing up for the whole UK steel industry and asking Tata to give us the chance we need to succeed.

“Steel is the very foundation of our manufacturing base, even the Prime Minister has conceded that it would be simply unacceptable for Tata to end our steelmaking capacity.”