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Labour urges Tata to avoid irreversible action on Port Talbot plant pre-election

28 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Photo Lewis Clarke is marked CC-by-SA/2.0

Labour politicians have urged Tata to avoid taking action that cannot be reversed before the election result after the steel giant announced it was bringing forward plans to shut down blast furnaces at its biggest plant because of a strike.

The company had been planning to shut down one of the blast furnaces at Port Talbot in south Wales by the end of June and the second one by September.

But workers were told that because of the strike by members of Unite from July 8, Tata can no longer be assured of sufficient resources being available to ensure safe and stable operations.

A message to employees said: “Therefore, we are left with no alternative but to take preparatory steps to cease operations on both blast furnaces and safely isolate them no later than July 7.”

Safety

Stephen Kinnock, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Aberafan Maesteg, and David Rees, Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Aberavon, said on Friday: “Everybody recognises that the number one priority in these negotiations has to be the safety and security of steelworkers and the plant.

“Tata wouldn’t be in this position of facing strike action had it not chosen to press ahead at break-neck speed with the closures of the blast furnaces.

“We have been consistently clear throughout this process that Tata should avoid taking any action that cannot be reversed before waiting to see the result of the General Election, given the very real prospect of sitting down with an incoming Labour Government to discuss its promised £2.5 billion Steel Renewal Fund.

“More immediately, Tata and Unite must get back around the table to reach an agreement on securing the safety of the site at all times which would include agreeing on the derogations required to prevent strikes causing safety risks, thus removing the need to close down Blast Furnace 5 early.

“This will allow an incoming Labour Government time to negotiate the future of steel making in Wales with Tata.”

‘Unacceptable’

Alun Davies, national officer of the Community union said: “Community condemns Tata’s unacceptable decision to bring forward the closure of the Port Talbot blast furnaces.

“We continue to support the Labour Party’s call for Tata not to make irreversible decisions before the General Election, and we urge all stakeholders to engage in meaningful discussions through the Multi-Union Steel Committee.

“All parties must pull back from the brink and negotiate to protect jobs and the interests of all union members at Tata Steel UK.”

Greenpeace UK’s head of climate Mel Evans said: “Tata should be listening to its steelworkers, not slamming the door behind them as soon as they threaten to walk out.

“A better deal for green primary steelmaking is possible, and with less than one week to go until the UK elects a new and potentially more sympathetic government, closing the steelworks before those newly elected ministers have sat down at the negotiating table is a costly mistake.

“It will have devastating consequences for the thousands of steelworkers set to lose their jobs, for the local community, and for steel production in the UK.

“We need a just transition for workers in the UK, and Tata must wait for a new government to ensure that Port Talbot and its steelworkers have a safe and secure future, producing greener, cleaner steel.”


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Adrian Bamford
Adrian Bamford
16 days ago

Only the Labour party could hold the position that Net Zero by 2030 is a wonderful thing, and that any jobs lost will filled with ‘green’ jobs – then simultaneously complain that, in 2024, a fossil-fuel-based plant closes down, because there’ll be mass job losses. They must get a cognitive dissonance bypass when they become members

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
16 days ago

Did not Vaughan Gething and his top team all fly business class to India at an estimated cost of £50,000 to spend half an hour in negotiations with Tata?

What more do you expect 🙂

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Tata…”we’re downsizing”…

Union…”strike”…

Tata… “checkmate game over”

Clark of Kent… “wait for me Mr Dillon”*

*’Gunsmoke’

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Phone calls to Daddy in Law and Modi copy to CEO Tata…don’t play ball with Labour…

Welshman28
Welshman28
16 days ago

This Labour’s £2.5 billion Steel Renewal Fund is in labours MAKE BRITAIN A CLEAN
ENERGY SUPERPOWER
TO CUT BILLS, CREATE JOBS AND DELIVER SECURITY WITH CHEAPER, ZERO-CARBON ELECTRICITY
BY 2030, ACCELERATING TO NET ZERO. It says protect thousands of jobs in steel industry in areas like Port Talbot , Newport and Cardiff through labours £2:5bn plan for steel *
*= subject to commercial negotiation job numbers per REGION & NATION denote Direct Jobs. Where is this money coming from please can anyone tell us and it’s for Wales

Howie
Howie
16 days ago

Weeks ago and in Gethings statements before his leadership election it was £4bn for steel, last week £3.5bn, now £2.5bn. It is not as if Tata had already said last year about change to electric arc.
It seems as if Unite want to force confrontation with Tata and Starmer if he becomes PM.
Either way it will be the workers that will carry brunt, from my own experience when I worked at Llanwern, Tata are not ones to back down, the shifting of the original British Steel Pension fund off their books case in point.

Dafydd Huw
Dafydd Huw
16 days ago

Tata want to bleed money from UK government. With a probable change in Westminster next week, the relatives feel that this gravy train has run its course (see also £500 million on battery factory in Somerset)and now time to cash in whilst the going is still good.

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
16 days ago

“Labour urges Tata to avoid irreversible action on Port Talbot plant pre-election”
Or as the headline should read:

Labour urges Labour Unions to avoid irreversible action on Port Talbot plant pre-election

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
16 days ago

Once Wales followed the UK to leave the Single European market and customs union there was no chance that Tata would continue to invest in Port Talbot steel and that the site would be run down. If the Welsh Labour government (along with the other imported parties from the UK) went along with the Brexit project – they knew it would in disaster for the economy. The only course of action now we have a general election is for Cymru to vote for pro-independence (Plaid Cymru) for our chance to set up our new nation and a better economic future… Read more »

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