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Unions cautiously welcome steel news

A Chinese firm says it will invest billions into British Steel

TRADE unions cautiously welcomed news announced today that a Chinese firm will invest billions in a bid to rescue British Steel.

Unite said that they are seeking urgent meetings with the Chinese steel company Jingye after it was announced that it intends to invest £1.2 billion into British Steel, which employs about 4,000 people in Scunthorpe and Teesside.

The company’s chairman Li Ganpo said that the money would go towards upgrading machinery and infrastructure at the steelworks, as well as raising the company’s environmental performance and boosting energy efficiency.

Mr Ganpo added that Jingye would be making job offers “to as many employees across the business as possible” but refused to confirm job security for all workers.

British Steel had been in the hands of the government via the Official Receiver since May, when it went into administration.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Unite welcomes the news that it appears we are close to a deal being concluded that ends the anxiety felt by thousands of workers, their families and communities and finally brings desperately needed stability to a world-class business.

“However, there have been a series of false dawns in finding a buyer for British Steel and Unite will not be raising any false hopes without seeing detailed plans for the entire business and [until] the ink is dry on the contracts.

“If and when a formal announcement is made, the workforce will begin to breathe a collective sigh of relief.”

Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey welcomed the “reassuring news” for the thousands of workers — while the government fails “to provide the support our steel sector urgently needs.”

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