There can be no doubt that the government must immediately nationalise Tata Steel. But this seems unlikely. Instead, already overwhelmed by a fiercely burning tax scandal, the slippery toffs led by “dodgy Dave” have decided to throw yet more fuel on their own pyre to mammon.
Following months of negotiations, the Tories have now announced that Tata’s Scunthorpe plant has been gifted (for just £1) to a private equity group called Greybull Capital. This generous present coming at the same time that the 4,400 Scunthorpe-based steelworkers have been asked to “accept a pay cut and less generous pension arrangements.”
But why on earth should any steelworkers have to accept pay and pension cuts? Why are workers being punished, and fat-cat profiteers rewarded, simply because the Tories refuses to act to defend the British steel industry by nationalising it?
Moreover considering Greybull Capital’s abysmal track record, what is abundantly clear is that this bullshit private equity firm cannot, and should not, be let anywhere near our steel industry.
Formed in 2010, Bullshit quickly made a name for itself for all the wrong reasons. In early 2012, acting a co-investor with private equity firm OpCapita, Bullshit helped seal the takeover of the loss-making Comet chain, purchasing it for just £2. As The Guardian reported:
“The deal was controversial as the backers protected their investments partly by structuring their purchase using secured loans, rather than injecting the cash as equity, prompting the then coalition government to order an investigation into the chain’s demise. The report has yet to be published.”
Later in the year, when Comet then went into administration, the minted corporate raiders running the show decided to flout employment law when they made 7,000 people redundant. One small mercy was that a subsequent industrial tribunal ruled in favour of the workers.
In October 2014 Bullshit then became the proud new owners of another floundering business, Monarch Airlines; and low and behold, the first thing they did was lay off 900 of the airlines’ 3,000 workers, enforce pay cuts of up to 30%, and oversee the evisceration of Monarch’s pension scheme.
Late last year, Bullshit again made the news with their takeover of Morrisons’ M Local convenience stores. Time will only tell what Bullshit’s long-term plans are, for, dare I say, asset stripping their new business venture. But given the media’s current spotlight on tax dodging, it is interesting that M Local stores are “owned by an offshore company based in Jersey.”
It is for these reasons, and many more, that Bullshit “Greybull” Capital should be refused the right to profit from British steel at the expense of Tata’s workers. Our government must immediately move to nationalise Tata Steel, and if they don’t have the stomach for such actions… well, they can just move aside… anyone for another General Election?
Other articles of interest:
- James Thompson, “The legacy of Comet: poor get poorer, rich get richer,” The Independent, November 6, 2012.
- Gwyn Topham, “Monarch airline: from prince to pauper,” The Guardian, September 25, 2014.
- Rupert Jones, “Monarch pilots’ pensions slashed in move to PPF,” The Guardian, January 10, 2015.