ESSEN, Germany (Reuters) - Thyssenkrupp’s works council chief said on Wednesday he would oppose any further restructuring of the German industrial group’s European steel business until there was clarity over a possible merger with Tata Steel Europe.
Labour bosses fear that cuts could be made at Thyssenkrupp’s German steel sites, which employ 25,000, to make room to absorb Tata’s ailing steel plant in Port Talbot, Wales where a deal has been struck to protect jobs and investments.
Thyssenkrupp’s chief executive Heinrich Hiesinger has signalled there would be more restructuring, with or without a merger. Labour representatives expect to be informed about the latest plans at a meeting on Friday.
“We told Hiesinger: ‘Talbot never ever’,” works council chief Wilhelm Segerath told reporters after a works council conference. He declined to say ahead of Friday’s meeting what workers might be prepared to do if their demands were not met.
Thyssenkrupp’s European steel business, which accounts for around a fifth of group sales, has been through repeated restructurings. It is currently profitable thanks partly to new anti-dumping tariffs that have limited cheap imports to Europe.
Thyssenkrupp - which also makes lifts, submarines and car parts - exited its American steel business this year with a deal to sell its money-losing Brazilian steel mill to Ternium for 1.26 billion euros ($1.3 billion).
Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Maria Sheahan