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