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The Port Talbot Tata Steel plant seen at sunset

Scunthorpe steelworkers accept pay cut; Port Talbot buyout considered

Tata steelworkers have accepted a three per cent pay cut as part of the terms of the handover of the Scunthorpe plant to its new owners Greybull Capital.

Members from the Community, Unite and GMB unions all voted for the cut, which is supposed to be only temporary until the plant finds stronger financial footing.

Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “Unite recognises that this will have been a difficult decision to take for many, but by agreeing to make these short-term sacrifices members have secured a future for steelmaking in Scunthorpe and the Long Products division’s other sites.

“Government ministers need to make sure that the sacrifices are not being made in vain by taking decisive action to support the steel industry and allowing steelworkers to compete on a level playing field with their global competitors.”

He also urged ministers to step up actions to tackle the dumping of cheap Chinese steel, which is having a deflationary effect on global steel prices.

China recently admitted that it was overproducing steel but did not commit to reducing its output, instead blaming the depressed global market.

The country said on Tuesday its production had actually hit a record high last month as rising prices, and profits, encouraged mills that had been shut or suspended to resume production. Traders and analysts predicted more increases in April and May.

In a statement, Unite also called for more help from the government to tackle the high energy costs of the steel industry. “Otherwise steelworkers will be left fighting with one hand tied behind their backs,” Patel said.

Meanwhile, although Tata’s other major UK steel facility in Port Talbot has not yet found a buyer, a senior manager at the plant is believed to have expressed an interest in a potential buyout of the steelworks.

Stuart Wilkie, managing director of Tata's Strip Products is understood to be canvassing workers about joining a bid.

The investment he is seeking from employees could be as much as £10,000 each, according to sources although private investors and government support would also be needed.

Tata would not confirm the names of anyone who has expressed an interest in buying its loss-making UK business.

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