Tata Steel exploring ways to keep its Port Talbot plant open

Tata Steel is inching closer to striking a deal with UK’s steel workers’ union.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Tata Steel is inching closer to striking a deal with UK’s steel workers’ union, a decision which is aimed at keeping the company’s troubled Port Talbot steel plant in south Wales operational until at least 2020.

According to the reports, Union leaders will propose a new rescue plan to its members later this week. The plan is envisaged to see investments into the country’s largest steel plant in exchange for concessions on staff terms and conditions.

As part of the plan, the company is looking to retain Port Talbot's two blast furnaces, which transform iron ore and coke into molten iron.

One is due to close its production in 2018, but workers’ unions have been struggling to keep it operational.

If the company manages to reach an agreement with staff, the India-headquartered steel giant will consider partial upgradation of the blast furnace, which would in turn extend its life by several years.

According to a report in The Sunday Times, the union workers’ officials met Tata Steel executive director Koushik Chatterjee and put forward their latest plans.

Earlier, Tata Steel sought curbs on the workers' final salary pension scheme in exchange for saving steel jobs in the UK and enhancing security for the future of steel production in the country.

"We are seeking a positive future for the UK business and during discussions with the trade unions we made substantial future assurances to achieve this," a Tata Steel statement said.

Earlier, the company has announced it would close one of Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant’s two blast furnaces, a decision that would half its production capacity.

Tata Steel and Germany-based Thyssenkrupp are exploring plans to lessen the size of plant, as they are looking to merge their steel business.

Tata Steel and its Workers’ Union will meet again later this month in Mumbai to decide on the long term future of Tata Steel Port Talbot plant and the security of the workforce.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Dec 05, 2016 12:00 IST