Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by Corus PLC

  When Corus met the Committee on 2 May, there were a number of items that we agreed to follow up in written form. This letter contains our response to those items.


  We agreed to offer a statement about consultation on the counter-proposals from our employees' representatives to the Company's plans for asset restructuring which were announced on 1 February.

  As explained at the time. Mr Pedder had held meetings at each location and gave clear reasons for rejection of alternative prosposals in oral exchanges.

  Following our meeting with you, we met national trade union representatives for a final meeting on these matters on 3 May. We reaffirmed that we had followed the procedure agreed between us and that Mr Pedder had carefully explained at each location affected the reasons why the local counter-proposals were not viable. The reasons varied by location, but the counter-proposals could not be accepted either for market reasons, or because they would have worsened our overall financial position. This meeting with national officials marked the conclusion of discussions at national level on our restructuring proposals. You will be aware that, since then, local implementation agreements have been reached at all locations.


  The Committee heard that we had held a large number of meetings at all levels of Government in London and in Wales. By way of illustration, below is a selection of dates from 1 January 2000 up to the date of the 1 February announcement involving Cabinet level meetings with senior company representatives:

Sir Brian Moffat—Chairman:

    9 May 2000—Chancellor of the Exchequer
    15 December 2000—Trade & Industry Secretary, Welsh Secretary & First Minister for Wales
    18 January 2001—Trade & Industry Secretary
    1 February 2001—Trade & Industry Secretary

John Bryant—former Joint Chief Executive:

    29 February 2000—Prime Minister
    11 April 2000—Welsh Secretary
    5 May 2000—Trade & Industry Secretary (together with Fokko van Duyne, also former Joint Chief Executive)
    13 June 2000—Welsh Secretary
    14 June 2000—Trade & Industry Secretary
    4 July 2000—Welsh Secretary & First Minister for Wales
    31 July 2000—Trade & Industry Secretary
    17 October 2000—Welsh Secretary


  Questions had been raised about the cost of regulation. Rather than include lengthy documents already in the public domain, we would draw your attention to written evidence given by UK Steel Association to the Trade & Industry Select Committee and published in their report on the UK Steel Industry earlier this year.


  On 1 February, this was 82p. Enclosed is a chart showing the Corus share value against the FTSE 350 since the formation of the company in October 1999.


  Corus has been in joint discussions with Government (DTI & DfEE) plus trade unions to put together a joint bid for funding by the European social fund of a retraining package for redundant employees. This has been part of a series of discussions with Government about support for employees affected by the restructuring of the industry since the middle of 2000. Corus has agreed to contribute a significant sum of money towards this package.

  A number of meetings have been held and the basis of a plan has been developed. This will need to go through an application and approvals procedure, but Corus is confident that this will offer useful support to those affected.

  Corus also welcomes the announcement of a modified form of ISERBS and has held meetings with DTI in order to clarify procedures and eligibility criteria.

Ian Goldsmith
UK Public Affairs Manager
4 June 2001

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