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More steelworkers back industrial action over Tata’s plan to close furnaces

04 Jun 2024 2 minute read
Blast Furnace located at the Port Talbot steelworks

More workers have backed industrial action in protest at plans by Tata to change the way it produces steel, which will mean the loss of jobs.

The GMB union said its members at the steel giant voted by 72% in favour of strikes.

Members of Unite are going to ban overtime and begin a work to rule later this month in protest at the closure of blast furnaces at Port Talbot.

The company is moving to a greener form of production, using an electric arc furnace, which needs fewer workers.

Next steps

Charlotte Brumpton-Childs, GMB national officer, said: “These brave workers have said clearly – they won’t go down quietly.

“We will now be discussing next steps with our members, reps and sister unions.

“Whilst Tata seem determined to douse the heat of our blast furnaces, the fire burns within our members’ hearts. They’ll fight to the last to protect their industry.”


A Tata Steel spokesperson said in response to the Unite plans for industrial action: “Following the publication of our most generous employee support package to date and having shared assurances for the future of the UK business with our trade union partners, we had hoped they would put the revised offer to their members.

“It is therefore disappointing that Unite have decided on industrial action — we are now considering our legal options regarding the legality of their ballot.

“The enhanced package will remain in place unless industrial action is taken, in which case it would revert to our standard terms.

“In light of the ongoing impact on the business, the potential for further disruption, and in order to ensure safe and stable operations, we are now considering bringing forward the dates for the closure of blast furnace 5 and the winding down of operations across the wider heavy-end.”

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