DUESSELDORF (Reuters) - Labour representatives warned of the dangers of a break-up of Thyssenkrupp, one of the alternatives to a merger of the German group’s European steel operations with those of Tata Steel.
Steel workers will meet in the western city of Bochum on Sept. 22 to demonstrate against the planned joint venture, the preferred option of Thyssenkrupp boss Heinrich Hiesinger. Workers are concerned that thousands of jobs will be lost.
Thyssenkrupp’s supervisory board is scheduled to discuss the plans a day later, the eve of a German national election. Germany’s economy minister has urged management to consult unions and reach an agreement to protect jobs.
In a joint leaflet calling on workers to participate in the demonstrations, Germany’s biggest trade union IG Metall and Thyssenkrupp’s works council said that the company as a whole was at risk.
“The merger with Tata is to be decided over our heads, even though we have been warning of the significant risks and consequences for our jobs for more than a year,” the leaflet, reviewed by Reuters, said.
“On the other hand there is a risk of a complete breakup of the group with even more dramatic consequences for jobs in all areas. Both scenarios lead to the destruction of jobs.”
Unions have not said what kind of restructuring they prefer for Thyssenkrupp’s steel business, saying it was the job of the management board to present options, not theirs.
Strategic alternatives include a breakup of the company in a style similar to utility RWE, which last year carved out and listed its healthy assets on the stock exchange and retained a stake in the new entity, Innogy.
Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Keith Weir