DUISBURG/ESSEN (dpa-AFX) - Following the decision to sell a stake in Thyssenkrupp's steel division, IG Metall continues to severely criticize the management of the parent company. "The Group Executive Board wants to say goodbye to the steel business at the expense of the workforce and the public and shirk its responsibilities," it said in a leaflet published by the union on Wednesday.

Last week, the thyssenkrupp supervisory board approved the sale of shares to the energy company EPCG, owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, against the votes of the employee representatives. The steel division of the industrial group is Germany's largest steel company with 27,000 employees.

According to IG Metall, the domination and profit and loss transfer agreement (DPLTA) between AG and Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe is about to come to an end as a result of the Kretinsky deal. "In plain language, this means that AG is separating itself from the steel division. Thyssenkrupp Steel will become independent."

The union estimates that the spin-off of the division, which has been planned for some time, will cost four billion euros. "The cost of excluding compulsory redundancies in the restructuring of Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe alone amounts to at least one billion euros," says IG Metall.

In addition, there would be further costs for financially equipping the steel division to bring it up to eye level with the competition. This would cost a further three billion euros. The total of four billion euros could only be paid by the AG. "After all, it has also put the cart before the horse."

In a statement on Wednesday, the Group holding company emphasized that EPCG's intended 20 percent stake in the steel business would have no impact on the financial situation of the steel division. The aim remains for the steel segment, which has been making losses for years, to finance itself from its own operating strength and further improve its capital market viability. "The realignment of thyssenkrupp Steel and the business plan currently being drawn up by the Steel Executive Board provide the economic basis for this," it said. With the plan, the Steel Executive Board is responding to the weak economy, but above all to fundamental structural changes in the European steel market.

"There have never been compulsory redundancies in steel. It is our declared aim to continue to avoid this," explained a Thyssenkrupp spokesperson. It goes without saying that Thyssenkrupp also adheres to all existing collective agreements. "However, only a successful and profitable company can offer secure and sustainable jobs in the long term."

According to Thyssenkrupp, the domination and profit and loss transfer agreement (DPLTA) between the AG and the steel segment ends automatically by law when a new shareholder enters the company. This happens with the completion of the transaction. "Even after completion of the investment, the steel business will continue to be financed by thyssenkrupp for the time being," emphasized the spokesperson. In the event of a 50/50 joint venture, independent financing with supporting contributions from both partners is being sought. Such independent financing would be determined by the shareholders on the basis of the new business plan.

IG Metall accuses the management of the AG of lacking a concept with regard to the steel division, among other things. "It looks to me as if the aim is to break up the Group and secure as much as possible for the shareholders," the leaflet quotes the second chairman of IG Metall, Jürgen Kerner, who also sits on the supervisory board of AG./tob/DP/stw