11 June 2024
Corporate News

Tata Steel expresses concern at UK Media reports on policy differences between the UK Government and the opposition on its transformation plan

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The company confirms that it will continue with the announced closure of the heavy end assets and restructuring program at Port Talbot in the coming months. 

Over the last three years, Tata Steel, part of India’s Tata Group, one of the UK’s largest private sector investors and the UK Government have worked hard to develop a sustainable future for Tata Steel UK and the Port Talbot Plant.

We are therefore apprehensive reading UK media reports suggesting that the £1.25 billion investment, the largest in many decades in British steelmaking, may be put in peril due to policy differences expressed by the Conservative and Labour parties, during the ongoing election period. We urge and request the current and the incoming government post-elections, to adhere to and safeguard the agreed terms of the £500 million package of support for the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) project announced in September 2023. This  project has been developed to ensure production of low-emission high-quality steel in Port Talbot, preserving primary steelmaking in Britain and creating the potential for a future green manufacturing cluster in South Wales.

 The current heavy end assets of Port Talbot are nearing their end of life, are operationally unstable and are resulting in unsustainable financial losses. The coke ovens, a critical facility for primary steelmaking, had to be closed in March 2024, as operations became infeasible and unsafe.   Therefore, the company is compelled to continue with its plans to decommission Blast Furnace #5 at the end of June, followed by decommissioning of Blast Furnace #4 by the end of September. The downstream assets will continue to service customers by utilising imported semi-finished steel till the new EAF is built and commissioned. 

 In April, the company completed an exhaustive 7-month process of national-level formal and informal consultations on all options with the Unions and concluded that the multi-union plan which involved continuity of Blast Furnace #4 through the transition is not technically, operationally or financially viable, putting the EAF build at risk and delaying the transition by at least two years.

To mitigate the impact of the announced restructuring, a generous voluntary redundancy programme has been developed and is being offered to the impacted employees.

The proposed grant funding from the UK Government is ring fenced for building the new EAF, which is critical to securing long-term supply of steel for Tata Steel’s UK downstream assets and protecting 5000 jobs in various Tata Steel UK sites. It is not linked to the ongoing financial losses and the instability of the existing heavy end assets, whose closure is now underway and immutable. We are therefore concerned with the UK media reports since yesterday as further political uncertainty on the timing and form of the grant will place the EAF project and the long-term future of steelmaking at Port Talbot at significant risk.

About Tata Steel UK

  • The Tata Steel Group has been named one of the most ethical companies in the world, and is among the top producing global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 34 million tonnes. 
  • Tata Steel in the UK has the ambition to produce net-zero steel by 2045 at the latest, and to have reduced 30% of its CO2 emissions by 2030. 
  • Tata Steel is the largest steelmaker in the UK with primary steelmaking at Port Talbot in South Wales supporting manufacturing and distribution operations at sites across Wales, England and Northern Ireland as well as Norway, Sweden, France and Germany. It also benefits from a network of international sales offices around the world.
  • Tata Steel employs more than 8,000 people and has an annual crude steel capacity of 5 million tonnes, supplying high-quality steel products to demanding markets, including construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging and engineering. 
  • Tata Steel Group is one of the world's most geographically-diversified steel producers, with operations and a commercial presence across the world. 

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