Belfast Telegraph

Tata's car workers urging company to allow time for bids to save steel jobs

By Alan Jones

Workers in the car-making arm of Indian conglomerate Tata have urged the company to allow enough time to sell its UK steel business as efforts to save thousands of jobs were stepped up.

Members of the Unite union at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) wrote to Cyrus Mistry, chairman of the Tata Group, warning against a "fire sale" of the loss-making UK assets.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid was last night flying to Mumbai to meet Mr Mistry to discuss the sales process, exactly a week after the firm took the shock decision to sell up.

The minister held a flurry of talks yesterday with union and steel industry leaders and other ministers, including Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales.

The head of a group which could rescue steel plants and save thousands of jobs said he is aiming to avoid any redundancies if a deal is agreed.

Sanjeev Gupta, the head of the Liberty Group, made it clear it was "early days" in the sale process but raised hopes that jobs could be saved, especially at the huge plant in Port Talbot, South Wales.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the business could be turned around.

Asked if redundancies could be avoided, he said: "That would definitely be my objective."

Mr Gupta said production could be expanded, but with different methods.

Liberty has not even started due diligence, as it was not expecting Tata to make its announcement so quickly, he said.

"This is my first day back in the UK. I am still to engage fully. We will see how the week unfolds."

Belfast Telegraph