July 3, 2020 / 9:17 AM / a month ago

Strike at Tata Steel's Dutch plant ends after agreement on jobs

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Workers at Tata Steel’s main plant in the Netherlands ended a three-week strike on Friday after the company said there would be no compulsory layoffs under a planned reorganisation of its Dutch operations.

FILE PHOTO: Smoke is seen coming out of a chimney at the Tata steel plant in Ijmuiden, Netherlands April 3, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

“We are pleased to announce we have reached an agreement with all unions involved,” Tata Steel’s Dutch division said in a statement.

“The transformation programme will not lead to forced redundancies at Tata Steel Netherlands.”

The company did not say whether there would be a voluntary redundancy programme but said it would now extend its current jobs pact for IJmuiden, which stipulates no forced layoffs, by five years until October 2026.

Workers at the IJmuiden plant went on strike on June 10 after unions said the company had outlined plans to scrap around 1,000 of the 9,000 jobs at the site as part of a reorganisation of its European operations.

Tata Steel Europe last year announced a major overhaul of its British and Dutch activities, at the cost of around 3,000 jobs in total.

Tata Steel Europe has said IJmuiden needs to become more profitable as the steel sector grappled with the effects of overcapacity, cheap Chinese imports and U.S. trade tariffs, even before the global coronavirus recession hit.

“This agreement offers a counterweight against the risks we see coming from Tata Steel Europe,” Roel Berghuis, spokesman for the FNV union, said on Friday, adding that workers would now return to work on Friday.

Under the agreement reached with unions, Tata also promised to invest in innovation and cleaner production technologies and not to quickly divest any part of its Dutch activities or to outsource work done in the Netherlands.

Tata is expected to present detailed plans for the future of IJmuiden by the end of September.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Edmund Blair and Susan Fenton

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