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Former First Minister says TATA losses are ‘excuse’ for job cuts

19 Jan 2024 2 minute read
Tata Steel plant in Port Talbot and Carwyn Jones

Emily Price

Former First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones has said TATA Steel’s losses are just an “excuse” to cut jobs.

Speaking to S4C’s Y Byd yn ei Le, Mr Jones questioned TATA’s claims that it loses £1million a day on its Port Talbot site.

It was announced on Thursday (January 18) that the steel giant is to press ahead with plans to close blast furnaces at its south Wales plant, threatening more than 3,000 jobs.

Unions met with the company after presenting alternative proposals aimed at saving jobs but sources said Tata rejected the plan in favour of a greener form of steelmaking to cut emissions and stem financial losses.

The former First Minister told S4C: “It’s vital that we get a better idea of what exactly has happened, because I don’t accept that they’ve made a loss of a million pounds per day for 7 years – no business could deal with that.

“What disappoints me is that TATA are saying the same thing now as they said 7 years ago when I was First Minister.

“They said at that time that they were losing £1 million every day, I didn’t think they were right then and I don’t think they’re right now. I think that’s an excuse.

“I think it’s right that the option of some sort of government control is considered, maybe nationalisation.”

Job losses

Unions will consult their members on how to respond to job losses, with industrial action not being ruled out.

Sources said Tata accepted a union plea to keep the hot strip mill open over a transition period, supporting hundreds more jobs.

Also appearing on the programme, former Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: “When there was a severe emergency happening [in TATA] when Carwyn Jones was First Minister, even the Conservatives were discussing nationalising over the short term to save the industry. That’s the sort of intervention and leadership that is needed now.

“We need to ensure that this [the closing of the furnaces] does not happen over the next year. There is a general election coming where it will be possible to implement a long-term industrial policy which is more strategic and will save jobs for the future”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Tata is India’s largest company and employ a million or so people so what is three thousand to them? There is an election in India in the spring. The UK prime minister is very much involved through his power as PM and his family connections. If as suggested he gets the sack this year and no trade or a bad trade agreement is reached with India the ‘Indian Summer’ may be over…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

The UK is about to lose its ability to make its own steel, the second Iron Age is about to end as far Cymru and the UK are concerned. This, given my previous comment, should be reviewed by somebody who is not in the pocket of Mr Modi and Indian industrialists…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Tata shares rise 2% at the news of Port Talbot’s pain while the PM cries stop the boats like some seasick child. Expect no help from him as he does not give a hoot for Cymru…

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

The little Indian is taking orders from the Big Indian, so job done. This attack on Welsh industry must not be allowed to succeed. All this wet moralising about pollution from the Port Talbot works is really annoying posturing especially when one considers that Indian and Chinese steel mills cause far more pollution per tonne of steel produced, kill more people at their place of work and kill or maim more people through industrial pollution. Sure thing more can be done to carry on the good work of further reducing pollution but this overly virtuous posturing only kills jobs and… Read more »

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

The business is losing £1m per day. While it is absolutely gutting to see the resulting job losses, no business, no matter what the size of its parent company, can sustain such losses long term. It’s also slightly ironic, given that Welsh Government is obsessed with reducing CO2 emissions, to the point of inflicting a range of seriously unpopular of CO2 reduction measures on the people of Wales that they’re now up in arms about this closure. Tata Steel Port Talbot produces nearly a fifth of Wales’ total CO2 emissions by itself. You’d think they’d welcome this and put in… Read more »

Mab
Mab
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris

Agree

Simon Hughes
Simon Hughes
1 month ago

This is a direct result of privatisation of a strategic industry. Steel produced by the Port Talbot plant goes into nearly every facet of society. Your houses, roads, cars, trains, cutlery, planes, shipping, etc. The best action for the security of the country would be to nationalise the steel works. Why? It is a no brainer when you have NATO warning of the growing possibility of direct conflict with Russia in the next 20 years. Port Talbot can at present produce any grade of steel required by client’s something they would lose with the proposed alternative system. The CO2 would… Read more »

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