A meeting of Tata Steel’s Board has left steelworkers’ hopes dashed as instead of the hoped-for shortlist of bidders, the company says it is still “actively considering” all seven bids to buy out its UK operation, including Port Talbot.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid and the Welsh Government’s First Minister Carwyn Jones travelled to Mumbai for the meeting, and it was widely reported that a shortlist could be announced.
The firm’s finance director Koushik Chatterjee said: “We are in the process of evaluating the offers and bids that have come up. We are in the confidential phase of this process so you have to give time to the company to evaluate the bids.”
But Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock blasted Tata bosses for continuing the pain for local steelworkers.
He said: “Thousands of steel workers marched on Parliament today to deliver a clear message to both government and Tata: that they must Save Our Steel.
“The Tata board meeting in Mumbai should have brought greater certainty to the sale process, but we are left pretty much where we were, with no short-list announced. Ending this ongoing uncertainty is essential.
“It is crucial that Tata Steel make good on their promise to be a responsible operator and seller, and that whoever is the owner at the end of this process manages the transition in a manner that will command the loyalty, trust and respect of the workforce.
“That means a clear indication of the long term commitment to investment in Strip Products, the continued operation of the blast furnaces in Port Talbot and a clear and fair settlement on the pensions.
“The government must also now make every effort to support the UK steel industry by acting on energy costs, procurement and Chinese dumping.”
Speaking ahead of today’s march in London, Community Union general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: ““Over the past few weeks I have visited every steelworks at risk. I have listened to the hopes and fears of hundreds of steelworkers and I will make sure those views are heard when Tata is assessing the various bids.”