Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has welcome the announcement today (Tuesday 3 March) that Chinese steelmaker Jingye has agreed the purchase of British Steel.
The deal will preserve the production of steel at the company’s headquarters in Scunthorpe.
Only viable option
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Unite’s members at British Steel will be feeling a sense of relief today that the deal has finally been confirmed.
“The lives of the affected workers and their families have effectively been on hold for 10 months since the company went into compulsory liquidation.
“Some hard decisions have had to be made in order to ensure the deal went through. Jingye’s offer was the only one which guaranteed the continuing operation of the blast furnace which was essential to the company’s long-term future.
“While the government has played a crucial part in ensuring that a buyer for British Steel was found its role must not end here.
“It is essential that dramatic action is taken to ensure the long-term future of UK steel production.
“Public procurement rules must be introduced to ensure that UK steel, alongside other UK manufactured products, is always sourced to support public sector procurement projects, including HS2, new hospitals and other infrastructure projects, our Royal Naval ships and when purchasing new rolling stock for our railways.
“It is also imperative that the government creates a level playing field for UK steel by examining extortionate charges for energy and business rates, in order to allow UK steel to properly compete with steel being produced in Europe and further afield.”