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|British Steel saved by China|
|作者：佚名 文章来源：BBC News 点击数：8 更新时间：2019/12/21 (第13教学周)|
One of the UK's biggest steel-makers has been rescued by a Chinese company, potentially safeguarding thousands of jobs. British Steel had been facing collapse after going into liquidation earlier this year, but the Chinese producer Jingye confirmed today it had agreed a buyout. It's promising to invest in British Steel's main plant in Scunthorpe, as well as its other sites on Teesside and in North Yorkshire. Our business editor Simon Jack has this report.
This plant has been on government life support since it collapsed in May. Technically in liquidation, it was offered a Chinese lifeline today, and workers on their way home welcomed it.
Well, it's been a big concern, hasn't it? Nobody not knowing what is happening, whether they've got a job, can pay their mortgages, feed their families. Yeah, it's great news.
Obviously, there's been uncertainty around it, but now we know, this close to Christmas, that we've got a job.
With 4,000 employees and 20,000 in the supply chain, the steelworks is the lifeblood of Scunthorpe.
It's massive good news for lots of families, and obviously for all the housing, for jobs, for younger people and older people alike, it's just great news.
The thought of Scunthorpe not having steel-making here really doesn't bear thinking about.
Charlotte Charles worked there for 12 years and is now a union organiser.
We're cautiously optimistic. Our members have been in a state of flux for a number of months now, and so to have some concrete commitment to steel-making in Scunthorpe is always going to be welcome news, but the devil will be in the detail. The due diligence has been done extremely quickly, and so now what we want is a commitment to secure the jobs and terms and conditions for our members moving forward.
If the deal goes ahead, current workers' jobs are secure, according to company assurances to the Government.
Well, I have been given reassurances that next to all current staff will be kept, and that in the medium to longer term they are likely to want to expand the workforce, so I have been given quite strong reassurances on that front.
This is not a totally done deal just yet, there's details to go through, investment plans to be pored over, and we've had false dawns in Scunthorpe before. But folks here are encouraged that the prospective buyer is a steel-maker, not a financial investor - and a company that doesn't make some of the products that are made here, so there's commercial logic to it. However, there are still some concerns about the economic and strategic rationale of putting one third of Britain's steel production in Chinese hands.
From nothing, in just 20 odd years...
Despite revenues of ￡10 billion, Jingye is a relative minnow in China's giant steel industry. In 2017, China produced over 800 million tonnes of steel, the UK less than 8 million. So how important will Scunthorpe really be?
The main principle of the deal that I would urge the Government to concentrate on is long-termism. Is this a company that will invest for the long term, that will ensure that British Steel remains one of the linchpins of our industrial strategy?
Steel has been made here for 150 years. The prospective Chinese owners are promising many years more - a message that's getting a very warm welcome tonight. Simon Jack, BBC News, Scunthorpe.
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