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Yesterday the confirmation letter for my pension arrived. I assume this now means I’m officially part of the British Steel Pension Scheme retired members, and hopefully unaffected by wherever the sale by Tata Steel of their UK business will lead it.

Still, I’d give something to be a fly on the wall in the office where I used work, and hear what the inside view of what’s happening looks like. However, from the middle of my first day of retirement, my log-in to the email system and Yammer was blocked, so no joy there.

The omens are not good : both Liberty House, who want to replace the blast furnace route with electric arc furnaces, and the management buy-out team, who foresee a further cut of 1000 jobs and a re-engineering of how the plant is run (whatever that may mean) seem to have plans that will mean turbulent times for those who still remain.

And that number appears to dwindle – a number of people I’ve known now show employment outside Tata Steel on LinkedIn, and one person posted a farewell note on Facebook. Meaning that those who are too young to retire, and still young enough to find other jobs are in the process of doing so.

So who will be left ? Presumably the part of the workforce who for some reason or another can’t or don’t want to leave the area of Neath – Port Talbot, those who can’t or don’t want to find jobs elsewhere in the area, those who hope to sit it out and survive the storm, with a hope of retirement when the dust has settled ?

In my opinion, the business will loose those who can leave and will be left with those who can’t – will this mean a lowering of the quality of the workforce, or will it be like Ebbw Vale, where the hangers-on and the superfluous dead weight have finally been ditched ? Only time will tell.

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