Trade union sets deadline in talks over Thyssenkrupp Tata Steel deal

Published On: 04, Dec 2017 | Source:

German labour union IG Metall has given until December 22 to agree guarantees on jobs, plants and investment if the company is to get the union's backing for its deal with to merge their European operations.

The deadline puts further pressure on Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger, who has said he wants the approval of shop stewards for the plan to merge the group's European business with that of India's

Hiesinger, in the job since 2011, is trying to transform into a technology group focused on car parts and elevators and say the company is shirking its responsibilities towards them by hiving off the business.

"We are putting an end to this process of playing for time. We will negotiate until December 22 and that will be the end," labour representative Detlef Wetzel, who is also deputy supervisory board chairman of Europe, told Reuters on Monday.

"If there is an outcome to negotiations by then we will let IG Metall members vote on it."

has said the business needs an external partner to cope with continued pressure from cheap Chinese imports and has warned that dropping the deal would result in even bigger cutbacks.

In contrast, demand for Thyssen's new generation of elevators and car components helped take new orders in the year ended Sept. 30 to the highest level in five years.

Hiesinger hopes to reach a final deal with in early 2018 but that depends on whether he can get it passed by Thyssenkrupp's supervisory board, where workers' representatives have called for jobs and plants to be secure for 10 years.

Labour leaders hold half of the 20 seats on Thyssenkrupp's supervisory board, and while a deal can still be pushed through without their consent, their approval could significantly smooth the transaction.