The GMB union believes its members efforts helped to ensure the deal

Tata Scunthorpe steelworks sale assures 4 400 jobs

Tata has sold its stake in its huge steelworks in Scunthorpe to investment firm Greybull Capital, assuring the jobs of 4,400 employees.

Tata is selling its entire Long Products Europe business to the firm which includes the Scunthorpe plant following talks with the Business Secretary last week.

The sale covers a number of UK-based assets, including two mills in Teesside, an engineering workshop in Workington, a design consultancy in York and associated distribution facilities, as well as a mill in northern France.

The deal will be completed once a number of outstanding conditions have been resolved, including transfer of contracts, certain government approvals and the satisfactory completion of financing arrangements.

The Long Products Europe business employs around 4,800 people, with 400 in France and the rest in the UK.

Bimlendra Jha, executive chairman for Tata’s Long Products Europe business, commented on the sale to Greybull describing it as, "the best possible outcome for employees who have worked relentlessly to ensure the business's survival".

Hans Fischer, chief executive of Tata Steel's European operations, said: "Under these current challenging market conditions in Europe with the soaring levels of imports from China, we are happy that Tata Steel UK and Greybull Capital have entered the final stage of completion of the sale of shareholding in Longs Steel UK.

"This transaction will offer a future for the Long Products Europe business and its 4,400 employees in the UK."

Union members at Scunthorpe are currently being balloted on whether to accept a three per cent cut in pay and reductions in pension contributions for a year to smooth the path for the deal, with the result due next week.

Dave Hulse, national officer of the GMB union, said: "These have been really difficult times for GMB members over many months of uncertainty.

"The trade unions have been in negotiations over a long period of time, looking at temporary agreements to make sure that the first 12 months of the sale are successful. Their efforts were a major factor in the success of the sale."

Britain’s steel sector has been in bad shape for some time, with 1,700 jobs lost in October 2015 following the closure of Redcar steel works. This was largely blamed on an abundance of cheap Chinese steel, leaving UK businesses unprofitable.

However, a new imaging technology could help save the industry and make steel produced in Europe more competitive.

The ‘Shell-Thick’ project is developing an innovative induction tomography system for assessing the solidification process of metal.

This new system will significantly improve the continuous casting process of steel by providing a real-time, non-destructive and reliable method of measuring the molten steel to detect any defects or fails as it solidifies and becomes a market product.

The system will form a kind of contactless bracelet around the billet of molten steel and takes continuous measurements as the steel solidifies. It visualises the electrical conductivity of the different states of the solidifying steel, providing an image of its structural composition as it cools.

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