THE GMB and Unite unions yesterday called for Liberty Steel to be nationalised after the Tory government rejected a request for £170m in financial support to keep it going.
The firm’s founder Sanjeev Gupta sent a letter last week asking for help to pay day-to-day operating expenses and absorb recent losses.
Liberty’s owner GFG employs 5,000 staff at its 12 UK sites, which include Rotherham, Motherwell and Newport.
GFG’s key financial backer, Greensill Capital, filed for insolvency earlier this month.
The government said they had concerns about the ‘opaque’ nature of Gupta’s empire, which employs 35,000 worldwide.
Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer, said: ‘Now that the government has stated it will not provide the bailout sought by Sanjeev Gupta, GMB will now seek an urgent meeting with Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for BEIS (Dpt for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) to discuss ‘Plan B’.
‘This must include all options, including taking the UK business into public ownership.’
Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: ‘Steel is a foundation industry and is essential for the recovery of the UK economy as we rebuild from Covid-19.
‘Unite is urging the government to do everything that is necessary in order to preserve Liberty Steel and secure its long-term future. This is key to protecting the jobs of its workforce and the communities where it is based, to safeguard its supply chain and ensure its customers receive the products they require.
‘No option should be ruled out in protecting the long-term future of Liberty Steel and that must include the option of nationalising the business.
‘Unite has met the business secretary on several occasions as well as the senior management team at GFG Alliance and the company’s key customers, in order to ensure that no stone is left unturned in our efforts to secure its future.’