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Tata Steel Workers Confront British Business Minister

The business secretary has been criticised for blocking EU's attempts to raise tariffs against Chinese steel and for heading to Australia when Tata was set to decide on the future of its UK operations

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Hundreds of angry Tata Steel workers today confronted British Business Secretary Sajid Javid as he visited the country's biggest steel plant in Port Talbot which is facing closure after the Indian steel giant decided to sell its loss-making business in the UK.

Javid, who rushed back from Australia soon after Tata Steel announced its decision, urged the company to push on with selling its UK business.

On his first visit to the crisis-hit site since its future was thrown into doubt three days ago, the beleaguered business secretary reassured the workers that "there's time to reach a deal."

"We re on your side," the Pakistani-origin minister told the steelworkers who confronted him.

"I think the most immediate need is for Tata to set out its offer document with the details and to make sure that all potential buyers have all the relevant information they would need. You would naturally expect them to want that early on ... so they can complete that due diligence as quickly as possible," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Javid reiterated that nationalising the Port Talbot steelworks was "not a viable long-term solution" but said he would "work with potential buyers and listen to how we can help".

He met staff at Port Talbot amid growing criticism of the government's handling of the crisis, which has put 40,000 jobs at risk.

He insisted the government had led calls in Europe for higher tariffs on Chinese steel which has been dumped in the UK and dragged down steel prices.

The business secretary has been criticised for blocking EU's attempts to raise tariffs against Chinese steel and for heading to Australia when Tata was set to decide on the future of its UK operations.

Javid also said that there was "no reason" to think Tata's UK steel business will fall into administration.

Speaking to Port Talbot workers, he said he expected there to be formal expressions of interest once the sale process officially launched.

Javid called on Tata to be responsible and allow enough time for buyers to be found.

Tata Steel, one of the flagship firm of the over $100 billion Indian conglomerate Tata Group, earlier this week disclosed plans to sell its entire UK business.

The move has threatened over thousands of jobs amid a deepening crisis in the UK's once-storied sector that the Indian conglomerate had entered nearly a decade ago with a $14-billion takeover with much fanfare.

(PTI)


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tata steel Sajid Javid metals and minerals port talbot