22 January 2024

Unions warn they will take action to preserve steel making at Port Talbot

22 January 2024

Unions have stepped up warnings of industrial action in response to job losses at the country’s biggest steel plant.

Tata has decided to press ahead with closing blast furnaces at its site in Port Talbot, South Wales, under plans to shift to low-carbon steel production.

The move will lead to the loss of up to 2,800 jobs and more in firms which supply the plant with goods and services.

Tata is pledging a £130 million support package to help workers retrain or find new jobs.

Unions have warned the decision will be devastating for the South Wales economy, as well as the steel industry.

They will consult workers on how to respond after Tata rejected union proposals which they say would have saved jobs.

Alun Davies, national officer at the Community union said on Saturday: “Our members at Port Talbot are hurting today and feel incredibly let down by Tata now they have confirmed their intention to follow a path of job losses, a botched approach to decarbonisation, and the destruction of our steel industry as we know it.

“Tata’s actions make a mockery of their so-called values, we’re not going to accept it and we will be consulting our members on how we proceed including the potential of industrial action.

“In the meantime, our message to Tata and the Government is clear: with the right investment, there is an opportunity here to take a different path which will safeguard jobs, our economy and our environment.

“We will keep making that case – there is too much at stake not to.

“We need our steel industry, and the decisions made over the weeks and months ahead will be critical to ensure it has a future here in South Wales and beyond.”

Unite’s Wales secretary Peter Hughes said: “Our members are angry and frustrated and will do anything to preserve steel making at Port Talbot, including taking industrial action.”

The Prime Minister insisted on Friday that the Government remains committed to supporting the British steel industry.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Steel unions have been pressing the Government to develop a serious plan for UK steel for years.

“The Prime Minister can’t stand by and let thousands of jobs go to the wall. It is essential that the company and ministers step back from these devastating plans.

“Other countries are actively investing and future-proofing their industrial heartlands. We cannot afford to become an outlier.

“We urgently need a proper industrial strategy to prevent crises like these from happening again.”

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