JLR workers urge bosses to act in a 'responsible manner' over Tata Steel sale

Members of the Unite Union at Jaguar Land Rover have written to Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, urging him not to act to act irresponsibly over a ‘fire sale’ of the loss-making UK steel arm of the company.

Steel workers based in South Wales are facing uncertainty over jobs as Indian owners Tata has announced it’s looking to back out of its UK operations – which currently lose £1 million a day as steel prices continue to fall.

However, Unite has warned that a sudden sale would be irresponsible and could have catastrophic consequences for the industry.

A letter, addressed from Unite’s chair of JLR, Bob Nason, and JLR Halewood convenor, Ken Smith, read: “We are alarmed to read comments in the press that the company is looking to dispose of its UK steel operations within a short period of time.

“This is not something that a responsible employer would seek to do, given any sale and the necessary arrangements and due diligence will take some considerable time.

“Therefore we would ask you to confirm that Tata will act in a responsible manner in the UK, will allow sufficient time and resources to secure the business through a new buyer, that the whole of the Tata business in the UK is sold ‘as a whole’ and that you make it clear this is the course of action you will follow.”

The union is urging the government to step in and stabilise the UK steel industry by giving it a financial lifeline. It also wants ministers to ‘create an even playing field’ by dropping opposition to European Commission proposals to slap higher tariffs on cheap Chinese steel – as well as by taking action on ‘sky high’ energy costs faced in Britain.

Unite represents nearly 500,000 people working in manufacturing industries in the UK. The organisation added: “As union reps representing members in Jaguar Land Rover, part of Tata, we are extremely concerned for our brothers and sisters working in the UK steel industry.”