Suggestions of confirmed buyer for British Steel ‘pure speculation’, union says

Suggestions of confirmed buyer for British Steel ‘pure speculation’, union says

A union has described talk of a confirmed buyer for British Steel as “pure speculation”.

The company went into compulsory liquidation in May, putting thousands of jobs at risk, mainly at its site in Scunthorpe.

Owner Greybull Capital had been seeking financial support from the Government, saying it faced a number of Brexit-related issues, but talks failed to reach an agreement.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Suggestions of a confirmed buyer for British Steel are at this stage pure speculation.”

He said Unite will meet with the administrator Ernst & Young on Thursday to raise concerns over “on-going selective leaks and discussing the real issues surrounding potential bidders for the business”.

Mr Turner said: “Unite understands from previous scheduled meetings that there are three serious bidders who are interested in buying British Steel as a going concern.

“Unite is clear that we will support any serious offer for the business as a whole from a bidder who understands the need for long-term investment in the business and has the capital to ensure that this world class, innovative, operation receives it.

“Investment in tooling and plant as well as product development and a loyal workforce are key to the long-term future of this foundation industry.

“Stability alongside investment, is critical if we are to maintain confidence in the market, our customers, suppliers and workforce.”

Mr Turner said UK steel production is “a core foundation industry, crucial to any positive industrial strategy and the health of a host of other UK industries including our automotive, construction, rail and wider manufacturing sectors”.

He added: “In this whole process it is essential that the Government plays its part in ensuring that the UK steel industry can compete on a level playing field with its competition, this includes action to reduce high use energy costs, business rates and a disastrous consequences of a no-deal Brexit, which not only impact on exports but would again see cheap steel dumped into the UK market.

“With regards to the potential bid from the Turkish military pension fund.

“While we welcome it as a serious proposition, Unite will be watching this closely and speaking with our Turkish sister unions given Turkey’s record of repression alongside reported opposition to independent trade union organisation in its Turkish steel plants.”

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