Tata Steel’s Welsh unit has issued an internal memo to its staff laying out benefits of Britain’s membership of the European Union ahead of next week’s referendum.
The letter has asked staff at the Port Talbot plant which is currently undergoing a sales process to give “careful thought” to their decision because the June 23 referendum will make a big difference to the steel industry.
“The EU is by far our largest export market, with over a third of our UK steel heading there access to that market is fundamental to our business,” Tim Morris, Head of Public Affairs for Tata Steel in Europe, said in the internal document dated June 10 and published by the ‘Daily Telegraph’ on Wednesday.
While stopping short of directly asking its workforce to vote either way, Tata’s memo, said “the relationship between the UK and the EU is very relevant for the company”. “It is likely we would still need to adhere to EU rules to enter that market. The difference: we would no longer have a say in how they are set up or applied,” the memo adds.
Stephen Kinnock MP, whose Aberavon constituency includes the Port Talbot steelworks, welcomed the memo. “Tata’s statement makes it clear that a vote to ‘Leave the European Union’ would be a hammer blow for the British Steel industry,” he said. Meanwhile, the Tata board is believed to be finalising a shortlist of buyers for the company UK steelworks, which is now expected after the referendum.