The works council of Tata Steel Netherlands
said on Friday it opposed preliminary plans by Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp to combine their European
steelmaking operations into a joint venture and would fight to block it if necessary.
Works council chairman Frits van Wieringen said that, after viewing the two companies’ memorandum of understanding, he was concerned they intend to dissolve the Dutch subsidiary, which would strip away legal protections, and then lay off workers. “They are talking about 10 per cent of jobs being lost, but we think it will be much more than that,” he told Reuters.
In September the two companies
announced plans to merge their European
steelmaking operations. The joint venture would have 42,000 employees, with 10,000 in the Netherlands.
said last month the deal would help address overcapacity in Europe’s steel market, which faces cheap imports, subdued construction demand and inefficient legacy plants. The merger would also result in up to 4,000 job cuts, or about eight per cent of the joint workforce, they said.
Works councils in the Netherlands
have significant powers and their approval is required for a change of corporate structure to be carried out, Van Wieringen said.
“Make no mistake, the Germans are also opposed to this as it stands,” he said.
He said the works council expects to hear more detailed plans from Tata and ThyssenKrupp early next year. For now it has notified the supervisory and management boards of Tata Steel Netherlands
that it will oppose the joint venture.
The firms had signed a deal for the joint venture to be named Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel, which would be equally owned by both the parties. The transaction is expected to be finalised at the beginning of next year.