Zelda Perkins gave evidence to a previous committee hearing Credit:PA When asked yesterday whether there was evidence of other stringent agreements, Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, said: “Most of them just allow you to talk to your spouse, your lawyer and your accountant and that is it. He said that it was felt that the change in the law came about in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein #MeToo scandal as it was felt that NDAs were being abuse. He told the committee: “The value of the NDA is to intimidate women into being silent and that I think was the context, that women were being silenced and repeat harassers were continuing to harass.”The committee will continue hearing evidence in the new year. Women are being forced into signing into signing controversial gagging orders which are so strict they ban them from speaking to their doctor about their experiences, MPs have been told. Employees are left feeling that there is no choice but to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) which “intimidate” them into silence after having “horrible” experiences at the hands of their bosses, the Women and Equalities Committee heard as they opened a fresh inquiry into the use of the agreements. It comes in the wake of the scandal surrounding Sir Philip Green’s use of NDAs to silence staff who accused him of sexual and racial discrimination. The Topshop billionaire still has an injunction out against the Telegraph preventing this newspaper printing allegations made against him by five former staff members.Emma Webster, a solicitor specialising in the field, told the hearing that NDAs were used in almost every case where there had been a payout but as they are so shrouded in secrecy it was impossible to know how many existed. The committee originally heard evidence on the use of NDAs last year when Zelda Perkins, who had been forced to sign one by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, told them that her agreement precluded her from speaking to her therapist or the police. “We would never advise anybody to speak to anybody outside of that as they would risk breaching their NDA and it would just be too terrifying what the consequences of that could be.”Sarah Champion MP said she was “shocked” that people were only able to tell their spouse.Ms Webster, Joint CEO of Your Employment Settlement Service, argued that in most cases the agreements said that you could speak to “professional advisors”, which she would tell clients would include a doctor or therapist. But she agreed that it “probably” needed to be clearer. Ms Brearley said that her campaign group had carried out research in which 260 women responded to their survey to say that they had experienced pregnancy or maternity discrimination and had signed an NDA. Of those 91pc said that they felt “forced to sign that NDA, that they didn’t have any other choice” and 69pc said that signing it had had a “long term impact on their mental health”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “It is put to them as if it is a choice, it is not a choice. There is no other option, there is nowhere else for them to go,” she told the hearing. “Many of these women are in horrendous, vulnerable states. They have just had a baby, they are trying to get used to motherhood and they are going through this awful experience with their employer. They just want it over.”She said that the “silence, the secrecy, damages women for a really long time” but argued that NDAs should not be abolished as many need the settlement. She added: “They want it in that sense that they want it over”. She said making the tribunal process easier and “less brutal” would help, but added: “We should make it clear that women can talk to their counselor about it… that is the least we can do. “Seamus Dooley, Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, argued that they should be abolished in certain cases as “harassment occurs in the dark and the only way we can actually stop it is by shining a light on it”. The committee also heard from Peter Rukin, a partner at Californian law firm Rukin Hyland & Riggin LLP, where NDAs are being outlawed in sexual abuse and harassment cases.
Headquartered in Mumbai, India, Tata Steel is one of the largest steel producing companies globally, with manufacturing operations in 26 countries and annual crude deliveries of about 28 Mt in 2017. With ambitious plans to expand its steel production at the Jamshedpur plant in Jharkhand and the Kalinganagar plant, located in the state of Odisha, the company was looking for a partner to help their nearby mines keep pace with the fast growing demand. To enable Tata Steel to achieve its goals, Metso has provided its Life Cycle Services solution to two mining sites, Katamati and Khondbond. This has allowed Tata Steel to reduce risks and concentrate on its steel production while Metso will ensure that it’s minesite machinery is always available and producing enough ore to meet the growing demand from the nearby plants.With the growing global steel demand, Tata Steel has to increase production capacity at its Jamshedpur plant from 6.8 to 10 Mt/y, while targeting 8 Mt/y from the Kalinganagar plant. To feed the demand from the plants, iron ore production at nearby Khondbond and Katamati minesites had to be grown significantly. In addition to the vast increase in throughput required, there were also challenges in meeting high safety requirements, community related issues, and meeting its production goals in the most environmentally sound way. Keeping the future requirements in mind, Tata Steel considered options to consolidate all production with a major OEM supplier capable of handling all aspects of production, for the company to concentrate on its core business of producing steel.“Initially, before making this contract for Noamundi (Katamati), we thought that we require a partner who can supply the total package. A partner with good expertise, taking care of the site-specific challenges, particularly safety, connecting with the community and handling the process in an environmentally friendly manner”, stated RP Mali, Chief of Noamundi and Katamati Iron Mine at Tata Steel. Another key technical issue at both the mine sites was the need to produce a different mix of end products as Khondbond site was slated to produce a mixture of lumps and fines, while Katamati’s mandate was changed to produce mainly fines. This would have required setting-up of a second circuit to meet the changing requirements. Another factor complicating the production process was different quality of the feed material used at both sites, with Khondbond being fed primarily with hard ore and the Katamati site having more blue dust and softer ores.In November 2015, the contract was awarded to Metso for two plants of 250 t/h at both sites, and included the operation of the plants, material stacking as well as the final logistics inside the mines area. With the plants now in full production, the results have been strong with good production while delivering on safety which is a key area of interest for Tata.Metso LCS agreements are built on program levels that are designed for different customer needs and are tailored to suit the business and production goals of specific sites. The aim is to maximise equipment uptime, ensure the highest end product quality and secure continuous production for the customer. Accomplishing these aims involves leveraging Metso Field Service technicians, along with ensuring the right wears and spares are used for each job. At the Tata Steel mine sites covered by LCS agreements, the contracts include:Capital equipment such as Metso crushers and screens including nine Nordwheelers (five GP220D, four C106) spread over two mines.Inspections and maintenance planning of all equipment.Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and inventory planning.Preventive and corrective maintenance.Spare and wear parts supply.Operation of the equipment and throughput optimisation.Logistics of bringing the ore from the mine to crushing plants.Guaranteed production levels and cost under a cost per tonne plan.“Our association with Tata is more than 25 years old. Right from day one we have been working with them as a technology partner. We worked with Tata from the conceptual stage to understand their requirements and re-model our offering to suit their requirements in terms of equipment and systems. Going forward, we have shifted our gears from a technology partner to performance solution provider,” explains Vijay Dhar, Vice President, Minerals Services & Mining Equipment, Metso India.Kamal Pahuja, Vice President, Mining & Aggregates, Metso India added: “When we do that gear shift from a technology provider to solution provider, there is an immense sharing of knowledge which happens. In fact, working together with Tata, we have come to understand each other’s challenges very well and see how we can add value to each other’s functions. A lot of knowledge sharing is happening, and better understanding of each other’s challenges helps us to deliver the performance that is needed.”