Tata Steel’s Dutch plant output back to normal as strike ends

Production at Tata Steel’s IJmuiden plant in the Netherlands was back to normal on July 6 after a three-week strike ended on July 3, the company confirmed to S&P Global Platts.

The strike ended after the company said there would be no compulsory layoffs under a planned reorganization of its Dutch operations.

During the strike, some production was disrupted both in the upstream and downstream units, a source close to the company said. Tata Steel declined to provide details on it when contacted. A source close to the mill said that although some output was affected, it was a low percentage.

According to a statement sent to Platts by the company, as part of the agreement, the company’s employment pact in the Netherlands will be extended by five years and there will be no compulsory redundancies from the company’s transformation program.

Tata Steel’s Dutch management team will continue to discuss the transformation program and the resulting job losses with the local works council following a consultation process. The company confirmed that the number of jobs cuts will continue to be 1,250 units.

Henrik Adam, the CEO of Tata Steel in Europe, said, “This agreement should give our employees the confidence that Tata Steel is fully committed to building a sustainable future for IJmuiden. We share an ambition with our employee representatives to restore IJmuiden’s position as the most competitive steel plant in Europe.”

Tata Steel’s plant in IJmuiden has a design capacity of 7 million mt of crude steel a year. Tata steel Europe in total operates at around a 70% capacity utilization level, according to the company’s latest consolidated results for the quarter and year ended March 31, released early July.

Tata Steel Europe’s crude steel production declined marginally to 10.26 million mt in fiscal year 2020.

Meanwhile in the UK, Tata steel UK, part of Tata steel Europe, is still in talks with the UK government to obtain a support package, the company’s spokesman told S&P Global Platts on July 6. Market sources think that an announcement is imminent.

Last week, the UK government announced it would provide an emergency loan for steelmaker Celsa, marking the first deal under a state scheme designed to bail out companies seen as strategically important, with Celsa UK’s loan package estimated at GBP30 million ($37.39 million).

Tata UK is the largest UK steel producer with the Port Talbot blast furnace site at its heart and with designed steelmaking capacity of 5 million mt/year, though it produces around 3.5 million mt/year. Tata UK employs around 8,000 people in the UK.

Tata steel UK has asked the UK government for a GBP500 million loan, Platts reported earlier. The company and a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) spokesman did not provide details on this when contacted by Platts.

— Annalisa Villa