Trade unions including the GMB, Unite, Ucatt and Community have called on Tata Steel to consider all options before selling its Long Products Europe division.
Union representatives from the affected locations met in London on 23 October to discuss the potential sale, which Tata announced earlier this month.
GMB said in a statement: “Following a meeting of Tata Steel trade union representatives from across the UK at the TUC in London, steel unions – Community, Unite, GMB and Ucatt - are calling on Tata Steel management to enter into a period of meaningful consultation to examine all the options to secure the future of the whole business and the steel industry in the UK.”
The unions have engaged the Syndex consultancy as expert advisers to provide in-depth economic and industrial research on the alternatives and to test the rationale for the sale.
The potential sale includes UK-based facilities, such as the Scunthorpe steelworks (pictured), mills in Teesside, Dalzell and Clydebridge in Scotland, an engineering workshop in Workington and a rail consultancy in York, as well as operations in France and Germany. Around 6,500 staff would be affected.
The GMB also claimed not having been informed of the plan.
It said: “Tata Steel has failed to consult at all with the trade unions before making this move, which could have serious consequences for employees and contractors right across Tata Steel, not just within the Long Products business that it wants to sell.
“The unions have been treated with contempt in this process as the level of consultation that we would expect ahead of such a major strategic announcement has not taken place.”
GMB has also confirmed that its members will vote on industrial action if Tata Steel “makes any moves against the British Steel Pension Scheme”.
A Tata Steel spokesperson told MRW: “We are committed to treating employees in a fair and respectful manner and will be fully consulting with the unions concerning the possible sale of the Long Products Europe business and its distribution facilities.”