Steel group Tata Steel is disconnecting its poorly performing British branch from the Dutch branch, which also includes the blast furnace complex in IJmuiden. The split had been in the air for some time, but now, according to the company, a concrete step is actually being taken.
The management is about to submit a request for advice to the central works council. Once the employee participation process has been completed, the unbundling can be completed.
The intention is that the Dutch management will soon report directly to the top of the parent company in India. Such a change can make the organization more effective. With the move, Tata Steel is also likely preparing to sell the part. Recently it seemed that the Dutch branch would be sold to the Swedish SSAB. But that steelmaker eventually decided against it because it would probably become too expensive to bring the blast furnace complex in line with the goals for a sustainable policy of the Swedes.
‘Very good news’
The fact that Tata Steel Netherlands is now gaining more independence within the steel group is ‘very good news’, according to the FNV trade union. “This is exactly what we stopped for a year ago,” says FNV director Roel Berghuis. But he emphasizes that the future is still uncertain. This is because it is not yet known who will eventually own the property.
According to the trade unionist, the step that is now being taken will have no consequences for the thousands of employees of the company. However, in order to maintain employment in IJmuiden and other locations, it is important that Tata Steel makes a greater step towards sustainability, Berghuis recently indicated. He is afraid that the current owner is not prepared to invest a lot of money in greening, because, according to him, the activities are on display.
Tata Steel’s current plans for greening make use, among other things, of storing the emitted CO2 in the bottom of the North Sea. But according to FNV, much more is possible. Last month, the union itself came up with a plan to get Tata Steel off coal within five years. The blast furnaces and a large part of the other installations could also run on green electricity and natural gas. In the slightly longer term, Tata Steel can then switch to hydrogen as a fuel for its installations. As a result, the nuisance to the environment would largely be a thing of the past within five years. Moreover, no jobs would have to be cut.
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