Unions vote to strike at Tata Steel, without hard guarantees on jobs

Photo: DutchNews.nl
The steel works dominate the surrounding area. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Steel workers at the Tata Steel plant in IJmuiden have voted unanimously to go on strike if management do not respond to their questions about the future of the company in the Netherlands, and the sudden departure of chief executive Theo Henrar.

In particular, the unions want guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies, that plans to reorganise the plant are dropped and that an agreement on jobs is extended to 2026.

They also want assurances that admin work at the IJmuiden plant is not contracted out to third parties and that there is a strategic plan drawn up for the future of Tata Steel Nederland.

The central works council has already said it will take legal action if sidelined during the process to find a successor Henrar, who left suddenly last month.

Henrar, whose departure prompted a spontaneous blockade by staff, is known as a defender of the Dutch company’s interests and has campaigned against plans to shift jobs to India and further integrate the British and Dutch activities.

In April Tata Steel said it was delaying a planned reorganisation of its European arm until July at least, because of the coronavirus crisis. The company had wanted to cut 3,000 jobs and slash costs in an effort to restore profitability. Almost 1,000 of the 11,000 jobs in IJmuiden would have been scrapped.

Earlier this week the company confirmed there will be no compulsory redundancies in IJmuiden when the company reorganises and the current pact on jobs – which runs until October 2021 – will be respected.

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