tata steel
Port Talbot, UK - April 28, 2016: Tata Steel Plant at Port Talbot, South Wales

Opposition from German trade unions may halt the merger between Tata Steel and Thyssenkrupp, which was set to secure the Port Talbot steel works alongside 8,000 British jobs.

German company Thyssenkrupp are in the throes of detailed merger talks with Tata Steel over combining their European steel operations, but complex negotiations around pensions and opposition from German trade unions may still stall the deal.

IG Metall, Germany’s largest trade union, opposed the merger this week and described it as “high risk”, bringing likely job losses and plants closures in Germany. Tata’s pension scheme, the British Steel Pension Scheme, has also raised “signifiant issues”.

The Pensions Regulator said: “We continue to have discussions with the employer and the trustee about the future of the British Steel Pension Scheme. There are still significant issues to be resolved and we will consider any proposals carefully in light of their impact upon the 130,000 pension scheme members and PPF levy payers.”

The difficulties in the merger come as ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe adopts a new program of jobs and cost cutting, aiming to save an additional €500 million over the next three years. IG Metall have warned that the planned savings may put 4,050 jobs at risk, heightening the pressure for the Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp merger to bring security for workers.