By Carolina Curiel (ScrapMonster Author)
March 28, 2016 11:15:09 PM
CANTERBURY (Scrap Monster): A crucial board meeting of Tata Steel is scheduled to take place today to decide on the fate of two UK steel mills. The meeting is expected to announce the company’s final decision on whether to retain or sell its Scunthorpe and Port Talbot steel operations. Thousands of UK steel sector jobs will be at risk, if Tata Steel decides not to continue operations at these facilities.
Meantime, UK union leaders and politicians are in India to convince the board not to arrive at any decision that may affect over 9,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region. Officials from the Community Union held talks with senior company representatives in Mumbai, ahead of the board meeting. The delegation included Roy Rickhuss, general secretary, along with Stephen Kinnock, MP for Aberavon, and Frits van Wieringen, chairman of the Tata Steel European Works Council.
According to Rickhuss, the plea is being made by not underestimating the severe challenges faced by the UK steel industry. The company’s European operations had reported quarterly loss of 68 million pounds in February this year. The margins remained squeezed, mainly on account of rising cheap imports from countries such as China, Russia and South Korea. Meantime, Tata Steel urged the UK government to impose strict and higher import duties on dumped imports, especially from China.
Last week, the Scottish government had brokered a deal by which two of Tata Steel’s plate processing plants were sold to Liberty Steel. In the deal which was finalized on March 24th, the government had entered into a back-to-back agreement by which the Clydebridge and Dalzell plants in Scotland were purchased and immediately sold to Liberty Steel.
Tata Steel is one of the world’s most geographically diversified steel producers, with operations in 26 countries and commercial offices in over 35 countries. Its three UK steelmaking facilities- Port Talbot, Rotherham and Scunthorpe has a combined crude steel production capacity of 11 MTPA.