Indian conglomerate Tata has said it will sell its Yorkshire-based steel business for £100m in a move that could save 1,700 jobs across the UK.
It follows months of uncertainty after the company put the business up for sale following a review of all of its UK operations, including Britain’s largest steelworks at Port Talbot, South Wales.
Tata said it had signed a Letter of Intent with Liberty House to enter into exclusive negotiations for the potential sale of its speciality steel business, which employs about 1,700 workers producing steel for the aerospace, automotive and oil and gas industries.
The letter covers the Rotherham electric arc steelworks, the steel purifying facility in Stocksbridge and a mill in Brinsworth, as well as service centres in Bolton and Wednesbury, and will provide additional security for more workers further down the supply chain.
Bimlendra Jha, chief executive of Tata Steel UK, said: “This is an important step forward in seeking a future for Speciality Steels and we have reached this stage thanks to the efforts of employees, trade unions and management.”
Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said: “After months of uncertainty and delay from Tata, this will be welcome news for the thousands of steelworkers whose jobs depend on the success of this business.
“Community has spent months campaigning to save these jobs and today’s news is a credit to our local reps who have worked so hard to ensure the business has a viable future.
“The number one priority for Community will be ensuring that Liberty have a proper plan to protect jobs and provide the long term investment necessary to grow the business.” Another chief concern for unions is securing a pensions deal for the workforce after MPs lambasted plans to close the existing scheme earlier this year.
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