Liberty Steel is to submit its plans to sell its Stocksbridge plant to consultancy firm Syndex, it has been confirmed.
In a joint statement from the National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee, Community, Unite and GMB - all of whom represent staff at the Stocksbridge site - the trade unions confirmed they had secured an agreement with Liberty to determine whether the firm’s “plans stack up and what they mean for the workforce”.
The statement added: “This is an important development and we are pleased that Liberty has recognised the value of submitting their plans for independent review. The last few months have been full of worry and uncertainty for the workforce and we all have many unanswered questions. While we do not have the answers today, we now have a process to channel our questions and pursue our concerns.”
The announcement comes after a statement published by Liberty Steel confirmed it was “continuing to assess” a sale of the aerospace and special alloys steel business in Stockbridge. The move, the firm said, would allow it to “focus on developing” its Rotherham plant - including its low carbon emitting electric arc furnaces into a competitive two million tonne Greensteel plant.
Outlined by the group’s restructuring and transformation committee, the aim of the developments is to “pave the way” for a refinancing that will enable its parent company GFG Alliance to pay back creditors following the collapse of its main lender Greensill Capital.
The trade unions have however said that Liberty Steel must “first convince the workforce that their plans will secure jobs and the future of every UK site”. In the statement, they added: “We’ve all heard Sanjeev Gupta promising that none of our plants will close on his watch - and we will hold him to that commitment.”
Credit Strategy has reached out to both Syndex and Liberty Steel for comment. A spokesperson for Liberty Steel said: “Liberty Steel’s board and management are working with employees, and their representatives, suppliers, customers and others to secure a sustainable future for the UK businesses. One aspect of that work is recognising and utilising the value that Syndex - acting on behalf of trade unions - can bring to securing that future.”