British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised to talk to Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata, as a final effort to stop the Corus steel plants in Teesside from being shut at the month-end, thus saving 1,700 jobs.
Brown gave the assurance to three MPs — Ashok Kumar, Solicitor General Vera Baird and Dari Taylor — when they called on him at his home on New Year’s Eve.
Due to mounting losses last May, Tata Steel Europe announced suspension of some facilities belonging to Corus’ Teesside Cast Products business in northeast England.
Ashok Kumar, who had worked with British Steel for 14 years, said many of his “constituents work at the Redcar plants in Teesside” and he was deeply attached to the threatened steel plants and employees whose jobs are at stake.
Baird, who is MP for Redcar where the plant is situated, said Brown had agreed to work behind the scenes to try to revive a deal with an international consortium to take over the plant by offering government help.
The collapse of the planned 10-year contract sparked the sudden announcement that the plant was to be mothballed, with Corus accusing the four firms of “walking away” from the deal.
Baird said Brown was “going to see if there is any way to revive these purchasers by indicating through diplomatic channels that the government will help make that deal”.
“Once he had something positive to suggest,” she said, the British prime minister had indicated that he would speak directly with Tata, the chairman of Corus’ parent company.