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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 February 2007

Corus deal threatens new cost-cutting

LIKE A scene from Casino Royale, magnates from Tata and CSN steel companies played a hard game of bluff and counter-bluff to win ownership of Corus, the Anglo-Dutch steel company. But in this case, the chips they tossed onto the table were the lives and livelihoods of 7,000 Welsh steelworkers working at Port Talbot, Llanwern and Shotton.

Dave Reid

The two companies were locked into an auction to buy Corus. The victors were Tata, the Indian steel combine, bidding 608p a share or 5.75 billion for the company after CSN bowed out of the bidding at 603p a share.

But the higher the bids went the worse the likely outcome for Corus workers as the new owners, forced to pay more for the company, will look for economies and savings from their new asset.

The big winners are Corus shareholders who made a huge bundle and walk away from the casino with their wallets bulging. The big losers are Corus workers who built the company through their labour and in some cases sacrificed their lives while Corus made money hand over fist.

The families of three workers killed in a blast furnace explosion at Port Talbot steelworks in 2001 blamed Corus for lack of health and safety. One of them accused the company in court of "paying for the replacement shiny new blast furnace with their blood".

Now the new owners will look carefully at cutting costs to pay for the takeover. Workers still remember the closure of steel-making at the profitable Llanwern steelworks where jobs were lost to appease City institutions and maintain the value of Corus shares even though Corus lost valuable steel-making capacity at a time of a global shortage of steel.

Corus steelworkers will brace themselves for fresh battles with the new owners.


No philanthropy from Tata

A WORKER at Port Talbot steel works gives his views on the takeover by Tata.

THE UNION Community received assurances that "TUPE" regulations will apply so all existing terms and conditions should be taken on by Tata. If Tata enters administration in the UK it will continue to trade internationally as in that respect Corus UK is a separate company. In the event of closure, the union has no idea what the final redundancy package will be.

My personal view is that, despite press stories about the Tata family being wonderful philanthropists and never having had an industrial dispute, they are capitalists who made a fortune out of "liberalisation" of the Indian economy and will take whatever steps are necessary to maximise their profits.

When asked about the prospect of importing steel slabs into Port Talbot, the head of Tata steel section said that is not going to happen but in the next breath he said "not for another three years anyway."

This sounds to me like it can happen and probably will. Obviously, the closure of the works, or even part of it, would be devastating for the town and the local community.

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In The Socialist 7 February 2007:

BLAIR MUST GO!

Sold to big business

Can the Left reclaim Labour?

Merseyside Campaign for a new workers' party

Website of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party


Civil servants' strike

Interview with Mark Serwotka: "This is just the beginning of the campaign"

Welsh strikers close down Assembly


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Anger at union leaders' timidity

Manchester nurses strike against health cuts


Environment

Change the system not the climate!

Bush's bio-fuel bull


Socialist Party news and analysis

Has Manchester struck it lucky?


Socialist Party campaigns

Camden council blames cuts on 'spending gap'

Don't privatise social housing!

Tenants pay when things go wrong

Coventry - a victory for determination


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Rising anger and discontent in Europe


International socialist news and analysis

Darfur - another failure of Western 'conflict resolution'

Sri Lanka: Keep up the protests


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

The writing on the Chinese wall


Workplace news

Stop the Valentine's Day pay massacre !

Striking back at the privateers

Corus deal threatens new cost-cutting

Cabin crew angry over BA deal

May Day greetings


 

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