British minister tries to reassure Tata Steel workers

London, April 1 (IANS) British Secretary of State for Business Sajid Javid on Friday tried to reassure the workers at Tata Steel Ltd’s plant in Port Talbot about future of steel production in the country, said media reports.

Javid, who rushed back from Australia soon after Tata Steel announced its decision to put on block its operations in Britain owing to huge losses and bleak prospects, expressed confidence that there will be a buyer for Tata Steel in Britain and also promised the workers that everything possible would be done to protect their jobs.

He said the British government will work closely with the buyer who comes forward to buy the Tata Steel operations, reported the Guardian.

Sticking to his position Javid ruled out nationalisation of Tata Steel’s plants in the country and also denied that the government was going easy on Chinese dumping of steel.

According to him, the immediate thing is that Tata Steel has to set out its offer document so that a potential buyer can study the same and do the due diligence.

He also hoped Tata Steel would give sufficient time to find a new buyer.

Responding to Javid’s visit to the Port Talbot steel plant, Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, the steel workers union, said: “It is promising that the business secretary has taken the time to listen directly to the concerns of steelworkers in Port Talbot. His colleagues should remember that this is a national steel crisis.”

“We need concerted action between the government and unions at a national level to ensure that Tata is a responsible seller and we secure a future for steelmaking in the UK,” he said in a statement.

According to Rickhuss with the minister hearing the workers directly, he and Prime Minister David Cameron need to get a grip of the situation.

“We do not need more false claims from ministers that they have done all they can for the UK steel industry. This is quite clearly not the case when they are ringleading opposition to Europe imposing higher tariffs on unfairly traded steel,” he added.

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