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Tata Unveils Investment as Reform Safeguards Future

Tata Steel has unveiled a new hi-tech robotics line at its Wednesfield plant, which forms the latest phase of a £20m investment. It comes as workers at the steel giant voted to accept reforms to their pension plans, securing jobs and production at sites across the UK.

Tata's Automotive Service Centre, which employs 450 staff, can now produce treble the amount of tailor-welded blanks, special sheets of steel made from different thicknesses and often used in the production of car panels.

The line can make more than 1,000 parts every hour and has led to orders from Germany, France and the Netherlands.

Paul Steele, managing director of Tata Steel’s UK distribution business, said: "The latest investment in the Automotive Service Centre greatly increases our capabilities and means we can offer our automotive customers a complete, highly-specialised service.

"It will also support our export business to Germany. Our unique capability, not currently present in the highly competitive German market, offers design and manufacturing freedom for the premium brand manufacturers there."

As well as Wednesfield, Tata has sites in Walsall, Port Talbot, Newport, Rotherham, Corby and Shotton.

The company balloted members of the Community, Unite and GMB unions on its proposals for pensions, jobs, investment and production after they were revealed in December 2016. Votes in favour from each union totalled more than 70 per cent.

The programme includes a minimum five-year commitment to maintaining two blast furnaces at Port Talbot, with a further commitment to reinvest in Blast Furnace 5.

An agreement to avoid any compulsory redundancies for five years has also been secured, together with a ten-year £1bn investment plan to support steelmaking.

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