Following months of uncertainty, Tata’s UK business appears more definite following a deal this week.
Tata supplies almost 50% of UK carmakers’ steel requirements as well as advanced steels for the UK construction industry which help to reduce buildings’ energy use.
Earlier this year, Tata sold its Scunthorpe Rod Mill to Greybull Capital for a nominal £1 fee, reviving the British Steel name.
According to the BBC, the steel supply chain is estimated to be worth £3.3billion for Wales per annum. Most of Tata’s UK business is based in Wales, although there are significant branches in England, including Rotherham.
This week, the Welsh Government announced a £4 million package for skills and training – the first element of a wider package of support for the company.
This week has also seen a deal between the unions and Tata that has seen Tata agree to continue the existing blast furnance configuration in Port Talbot until 2021. The business has also entered into an employment pact until 2021, supporting employees through future changes by investing in their skills to support plant upgrades, automation and other digital initiatives. The unions have agreed in principle with Tata to modify the pensions schemes, which will have to be agreed via ballot with staffers.
Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones has welcomed the agreement between Tata and the unions, describing it as a massive step towards securing the long term future of steel making in Wales.
The First Minister said: “This is great news for the future of steel making in Wales and a massive shot in the arm for the industry…I am pleased to announce today over £4 million to develop skills and training for Tata employees, while we have also made significant progress towards defining a wider package of support for Tata to secure the future of steel making in Wales.
“This has been a long and taxing year for the Tata employees, their families and the wider Port Talbot community. I am pleased there is more certainty for the future. Steel workers and their families can now look forward to Christmas and face the New Year with increased confidence and security. Meanwhile today’s announcement also provides the much needed shot in the arm.”
There is more detail on the deal on Tata’s site.