The investment division of Turkey’s armed forces pension fund is the preferred bidder for British Steel. As the Guardian reported, Oyak is “a Turkish military pension fund set up shortly after the country’s 1960 military coup”.
The current Turkish regime of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was found guilty in 2018 by the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal of war crimes against the Kurdish people both at home and abroad. The Canary reported on the actions of the Turkish army – the second largest in NATO – as they were happening.
Politicians and trade unionists have also expressed separate concerns. Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey, for example, said British Steel workers must have “security and stability”, adding:
It is essential that Oyak submits its full plans for proper scrutiny by the steel unions and works closely with them to ensure the long-term future of British steel in the interests of the workers, not just shareholders.
Given the company’s track record, Labour will hold the Government to account if there are any moves to undermine the unions and workers’ terms and conditions.
Harish Patel, Unite’s national officer for steel, said:
Since May the workers have had their lives put on hold with the future of the company and their jobs being placed in an extremely precarious position.
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The announcement that Oyak has entered into exclusive talks about purchasing British Steel is not the end of the process, but it is a massive step forward and provides a degree of confidence for the workforce at British Steel and the company’s customers.
In order to secure the long-term future of British Steel and the UK steel industry, there remains a requirement for the Government to keep its eye on the ball and provide assistance to tackle problems of high use energy costs and business rates.
The Government must also introduce a proper industrial strategy which tackles procurement issues to ensure that public contracts use UK steel.
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