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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Steel Firms Set April 1 For Merger

ESSEN, Germany -- The German Krupp and Thyssen companies are to pool their steel interests in a joint business from April 1, Krupp said Wednesday as strikes against the merger spread among steelworkers fearing for their jobs.

Thyssen would probably hold 60 percent of the joint business and Krupp 40 percent, a Krupp spokesman said.

The outline of the merger was expected to be made public later Wednesday but talks on details could continue for another four weeks, the spokesman added.

He said the expected 60-40 ratio of holdings in the joint company took into account the respective "worth" of Thyssen Stahl AG and Krupp-Hoesch Stahl AG.

Asked why they should merge from April 1 if details remained to be worked out, the spokesman replied: "Why should we wait any longer?"

A name still has to be found for the joint company, he added.

A Krupp statement said there would be no compulsory redundancies, and it promised job-creating investment at Krupp's Dortmund site which is expected to be hardest hit.

About 5,700 Krupp workers in Dortmund decided during the night to continue an all-out strike begun early Tuesday. They were joined Wednesday by 3,000 Krupp workers in Bochum and 2,500 others at Siegen and Kreuztal.

Thousands of Krupp workers at Dortmund responded with shouts of protest and abuse when Krupp-Hoesch Stahl chairman Hans-Wilhelm Grasshoff told them during the night that there would be no compulsory redundancies but that working hours and pay would have to be cut.

Thyssen workers were being informed of the outlook for them at a mass meeting in the Duisburg region Wednesday.

A mass meeting was also taking place at Krupp's Bochum site.

The IG Metall trade union fears the loss of 8,000 jobs at Thyssen's Duisburg site and at Krupp in Dortmund over the next four or five years as a result of the merger.