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Announcement expected of thousands of jobs losses at Port Talbot steelworks

15 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Photo Leighton Collins / Shutterstock.com

Thousands of job losses are set to be announced at Port Talbot Steelworks later today (15 September) as a result of plans to produce “greener” steel.

Tata, the Indian conglomerate that owns the steelworks, the biggest in the UK, has been in talks with the UK Government for months over state aid worth hundreds of millions of pounds to help switch the plant’s two coal-fired blast furnaces to electric arc versions that can run on zero-carbon electricity.

The move could lead to around 3,000 job losses, mainly at Port Talbot, unions fear.

In an announcement on Friday, ministers are expected to say the deal is intended to secure the survival of the plant which employs half of Tata Steel’s 8,000-strong workforce.

Tata warned last year that its UK operations were under threat unless it secured government funding to help it move to less carbon-intensive electric arc furnaces.

Unions complained they had been shut out of negotiations over the deal.

Unacceptable

Charlotte Brumpton-Childs, GMB national officer, said: “Government intervention in the steel industry is long overdue, but imposing a program without proper worker consultation is unacceptable.

“GMB has urged ministers and Tata Steel to have a longer-term view on the decarbonisation of steel.

“It is not a just transition if thousands of jobs are sacrificed in the name of short-term environmental gains.

“We wholeheartedly support the move to modernise and decarbonise the industry, in fact we have sought this type of investment for years.

“But ignoring technologies outside of electric arc furnaces will mean tens of thousands of people will lose their livelihoods.”

Alun Davies, national officer for the Community union, said: “There must be a full and meaningful consultation on all the options to decarbonise steelmaking and secure the future of every UK plant.

“Community will do everything within its powers to support our members and protect their jobs.”

Dr Simon Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “The Government may be trying to do the right thing here, but if this deal leads to 3,000 job loses it can’t be right.

“Having a long-term vision that leads to hydrogen-based steel manufacture at Port Talbot, as well as the arc furnaces that recycle used steel, could protect many more jobs.”

Gary Smith, general secretary of the GMB union told the PA news agency: “This deal will have devastating consequences for jobs and workers. It will rip the heart out of the Port Talbot community.

“For years, GMB has called for investment in this critically important industry. Instead of listening the Government dithered and delayed until it is too late, and thousands of workers, their families and communities will pay the price.

“Our country cannot be secure without a functioning domestic steel industry and workers must be at the heart of plans to modernise it.

“Once again, we see how so-called transitions are anything but fair or just for working people.”


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Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
15 days ago

Great idea invest all that money to loose All them jobs

hdavies15
hdavies15
15 days ago
Reply to  Malcolm Jones

Drakeford & Co don’t really care cos it delivers a green Port Talbot whatever that is. And he’ll beg more funds off Whitehall to deal with unemployment and the need for “initiatives” but most likely spend it on his SpAd mates and other party hangers on who deliver “schemes” without ever declaring results.

Nia James
Nia James
15 days ago

A wonderful day for the anti-industrial Green lobby. Drakeford will be buying the drinks in the Bay this evening. And as the laid off steelworkers abandon Port Talbot there’ll be lots of cheap houses for ‘investors’ from east of Offa’s. Another nail in the Cymru coffin.

hdavies15
hdavies15
15 days ago

Big Globalist Business pals up with, or bullies, UK government with delusions of being “big”. Result ? Eradication of thousands of well paid skilled jobs while the parties to this deal engage in another round of self congratulation, getting aroused at the thought of being pace setters in the race to be more green. Drakeford can spout as much k-rap as he likes about those wicked Tories but he knows damn well that his tame acceptance of anything remotely green makes it so much easier for the London criminal elite to make such moves. Maybe it’s blue collar unions that… Read more »

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