DUISBURG, Germany (Reuters) - The labor boss of Thyssenkrupp’s (TKAG.DE) steel business on Thursday said he will seek to renegotiate with management planned cuts of around 4,000 jobs agreed under the Tata Steel (TISC.NS) joint venture deal.
Thyssenkrupp and India’s Tata Steel agreed last Saturday to merge their European steel activities into a 50-50 joint venture, creating the continent’s No.2 steelmaker after ArcelorMittal (MT.AS) with 17 billion euros ($19.9 billion) in combined sales.
“The number of cuts is up for negotiation with the works council,” Tekin Nasikkol told reporters, citing an agreement with the IG Metall labor union.
“I have not yet started the negotiations and I do not see, by far, these targets or this number of cuts, which management may like to see,” said Nasikkol, who also sits on Thyssenkrupp’s supervisory board.
Thyssenkrupp CEO Heinrich Hiesinger briefed steelworkers at a staff meeting at a site in Duisburg on Thursday on the implications of the deal, which entails reductions of up to 2,000 jobs at each Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel.
The German group has said it expects annual synergies of 400 million to 500 million euros from the transaction. It said additional synergies were possible through managing capital expenditure and optimizing working capital.
But rather than focusing primarily on cost cuts and synergies, management should aim to develop a plan for how to make the joint venture successful, Nasikkol said.
“If there was indeed to be a reduction in staff, then we would carry that out over a very, very long time period,” he said.
Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff. Writing by Andreas Cremer; editing by David Evans