Socialist Worker

'Constructive' trade unions aid steel bosses' blackmail

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2485

Threats of closure are being used to blackmail steel workers in Scunthorpe into accepting attacks on their pay, pensions and jobs.

Owner Tata wants to sell the Scunthorpe-centred “long products” division and said it could close the plant if it doesn’t find a buyer.

Investment firm Greybull said it could buy the plant and invest £400 million—if certain “reforms” are made.

These include scrapping the final salary pension scheme workers fought last year to defend, and cutting overtime pay and bonuses.

They also include up to 500 more job losses.

Unions have opened the door to bosses’ blackmail by framing the steel jobs crisis in terms of how to make the industry competitive.

As a Greybull spokesperson said, “The trade unions involved have to date been most constructive.”

This “constructive” approach puts the bosses in a position to make demands.

Tata used the threat of closure to demand the Environment Agency let it off measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

It has now been given “breathing space” until at least 2024 on cost grounds.

Taking bosses on, not pandering to them, can defend jobs and the planet.

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