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Union fears over timescale for the sale of Tata Steel

By Alan Jones

Union leaders have expressed concerns about the amount of time Tata Steel is allowing to sell its UK assets.

Community said it had "serious concerns" about commitments given by the Indian conglomerate about being a responsible seller.

General secretary Roy Rickhuss said he feared an "arbitrary deadline" will be imposed that is too soon for credible investors to develop a viable bid.

Two potential bidders have tabled a formal interest - Liberty House and a management buyout team under the name Excalibur.

A Tata operation in Lisburn employing around 70 people is part of a separate sale of the company's Long Products business to Greybull Capital.

Mr Rickhuss said: "Since Tata put the business up for sale we have had various discussions with a range of stakeholders who are keen to understand the perspective of the workforce. A number of the people we're talking to have expressed concerns about the tight timescales that Tata wants to impose.

"These are national industrial assets that are up for sale so this isn't something that can happen overnight.

"Tata allowed time for the sale of its Long Products business to a credible investor, it should provide the same opportunity to bidders for the rest of its UK business.

"Nobody wants this process to drag on, not least because of the uncertainty for everyone involved with the company, especially the workforce.

"But nor should this process be rushed."

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