New Delhi: Four trade unions at Corus Group Ltd, Tata Steel Ltd’s European arm, have joined hands and have asked the management to find a buyer for its Teesside Cast Products (TCP) unit and save 1,600 jobs.
The combined body of unions have given a time of 14 days to the Corus management to find a buyer failing which the associations have threatened with an action and may take recourse to industrial action.
“At a meeting of the national trade union steel co-ordinating committee (NTUSCC), the steel unions resolved to offer Corus a 14-day period of grace to take a different course of action,” a joint statement by the unions said.
“If Corus fails to demonstrate the necessary leadership, statesmanship and progress in the next 14 days, regrettably, we will need to implement alternative plans to safeguard steelmaking across the UK,” it said.
The NTUSCC comprises leading officers from trade unions like Community Union, Unite, GMB and Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians represent trade union members within Corus.
Tata Steel’s European arm started the process of mothballing some of the mills of its TCP plant about a week back, a move that will render 1,600 workers jobless.
“We are giving Corus a window of opportunity to commit to finding a buyer for Teesside. This is a pause for peace to allow Corus to take the initiative because there are 10,000 jobs on the line,” said national officer for Unite Terry Pye.
General secretary of community and chairman of the NTUSCC, Michael Leahy said, “This is a genuine olive branch, offered in the interests of all in finding a way forward to save our steel on Teesside.”
Unions said the steel committees would meet managing director and chied executive officer of Corus, Kirby Adams, at any time.
“We will continue to consult with our members about alternative options, with the interests of Teesside and the future of the UK steel industry foremost in our minds,” the statement said.
The committee has decided to meet again on 15 March to assess the progress made by Corus on the issue and to chalk out a future course of strategy.
The British trade body Community Union, last week, had threatened to design its proposed industrial action against Corus over its decision to begin partial mothballing of TCP.
“As a modern union we will be seeking to make surgical strikes that will cause maximum damage to Tata Corus and minimum damage to our members,” Community Union general secretary M. Leahy had said in an email.
The union had said it will be giving its members the opportunity to ballot for industrial action.