Community, one of the largest steel and metal industry unions in Europe, has signalled that it would oppose job cuts by Tata Steel at its newly-acquired Anglo-Dutch steel company Corus Group.
Analysts tracking Corus said the steel company's workers had witnessed nearly 8,000 job cuts in the last eight years and were, therefore, apprehensive of Tata Steel's intentions.
"They are more concerned about knowing whether Tata Steel will ship semi-finished products to the Corus facilities, since iron ore exports from India are not free," said Michael Leahy, general secretary of Community, which has a say over 80 per cent of Corus' 31,800 UK employees.
Community will be seeking talks with Tata to discuss its investment strategy for Corus' business, in particular the UK operations. Leahy said Corus was a profitable, well-run company and its UK operations had some of the world's most efficient steel workers.
"What I can say at this point is that we are willing to work in partnership to drive forward an investment strategy that allows the UK operations to contribute to Tata's profitability. However, we are not prepared to see an accelerated or slow demise of the UK steel industry. Tata should be under no illusions that we will resist any attempt to achieve this, using all the resources at our disposal," he said.
Meanwhile, Tata Steel is planning a $500-600 million global depository receipt issue in the next financial year, to part-finance its ambitious expansion plans. Sources close to the development said the company was in talks with investment bankers DSP Merrill Lynch and JM Morgan Stanley to work out the size and timing of the issue.