Tata jobs on the line amid calls to remain in EU

Posted on 27 Aug 2015 by Callum Bentley

A senior figure at the Indian giant has said that its largest businesses in the UK benefit from the membership of the European Union.

Tata Sons Group executive council member, Mr. Nirmalya Kumar told the BBC that having access to the European single market made trading easier. He said that seeing the business benefits originating from the EU is “not rocket science” and added that “it is easier to export stuff out of here [Britain], you don’t have to do the paperwork as much, you don’t have any import duties.”

Tata, which owns and operates businesses including Tetley Tea, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Steel, as well as a large consultancy arm, is the UK’s largest industrial employer with an employee base of around 65,000 people.

However the call for remaining in the EU comes in conjunction with the reported threat of 250 jobs being on the line at Tata Steel’s Llanwern site.

Tata Steel - Llanwern OutputEmployees at the South Wales-based strip products business have reportedly been told by management that they need to reduce costs and focus on manufacturing higher value products.

The company said it would concentrate production at its hot strip mill at Port Talbot and that the mill at Llanwern would be mothballed. Tata said employees at the Llanwern site would be guaranteed redeployment. It was also mentioned that there would be a discussion around the impact of the measures with agencies that supply workers.

Unions lamented that 250 jobs would be lost as a result of the measures and warned that “communities will be destroyed.”

Dave Hulse, national officer of the GMB union, said: “This is more bad news for the steel industry. This comes on the back of the recent announcement that 720 jobs will go in the specialty business.

“The 250 jobs to go will be drawn from agency workers who are currently employed at Tata Steel sites. We will see local communities destroyed with mass unemployment while the balance of payment deficit will increase further if we don’t act now and get Government support and action.”

Figures from Tata Steel showed that liquid steel production and deliveries in Europe both increased by more than seven per cent year-on-year in Q1 FY16, but surging EU imports, especially from China and in the case of the UK operations, the appreciation of sterling against the euro, led to lower turnover.