Britain prioritising jobs in Tata Steel talks – minister

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s new government is prioritising avoiding job losses in talks with Tata Steel over government backing for a transition to lower-carbon technologies, business minister Jonathan Reynolds said on Sunday.

Tata, Britain’s biggest steel producer, started closing one of its carbon-intensive blast furnaces on Thursday while the shutdown of its other one is slated for September, resulting in the loss of up to 2,800 jobs at Port Talbot in South Wales.

The new government will need to sign the 500 million pound ($635 million) support package the previous government agreed with Tata Steel to help build a lower-carbon electric arc furnace, but unions are hoping for an improved deal with Tata, which could prevent some job losses.

“We see this as a major priority,” Reynolds told the BBC. “I’m going to make sure that job guarantees are part of the negotiation that we’re having.”

(Reporting by Paul Sandle and Alistair Smout)



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