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Port Talbot people’s assembly to tackle steelworks closure impact

27 Feb 2024 3 minute read
The UK’s largest steel works in Port Talbot. Photo Ben Birchall PA Images

Port Talbot residents are being invited to a ‘people’s assembly’ on Saturday 2 March to discuss the crisis hitting the town as the steelworks shuts its blast furnaces, putting almost half the workforce at Tata Steel’s plant at risk of redundancy.

Titled ‘What’s Your Problem?’ the assembly will let ordinary people have a voice on the issues that matter to them and decide what should happen next.

It is being organised by a coalition of groups including The Humanity Project, XR Cymru, and Trust The People.

“Massive blow”

Janina Hines, who lives in Port Talbot and is one of the organisers, says:  “The news that the steelworks is closing has been a massive blow to the whole town. People are worried about their futures.

“I’m a mum and four members of my family work at Tata. They’re stressed about whether they’ll have a job or not.

“This assembly will give people who live in Port Talbot a space to come in and talk about their worries, their fears, their concerns… and also think about ways that we can adapt to what’s happening to us as a community.

“People in Port Talbot feel disempowered, but the truth is ordinary people hold all the power. We are the heart of this town. We need to get together and work out what to do.”

The assembly will feature speakers including Clare Farrell from The Humanity Project, a group that’s helping ordinary people set up assemblies across the UK.

She will give a short introduction, before the assembly is opened up to the people to make their views known and work together to find solutions as a group.

Clare Farrell from The Humanity Project says: “What’s happening in Port Talbot is showing us on multiple levels how NOT to do a fair transition to new energy and manufacturing systems.

“Westminster corruption and incompetence has made people all over the UK feel alienated and without agency, the answer to that is turning to each other.

“We are working on a constructive programme of local assemblies, because people are ready for positive change, and to refuse to accept the despair and pain caused by big business and politics and remember our faith in humanity.”


The people’s assembly model is spreading across the UK from Cornwall to Aberdeen.

It’s designed as a way of bringing people together and enabling everyone’s voice to be heard. The goal of the assembly is to discuss issues that matter to people and empower them to take charge.

Janina Hines says: “Anyone and everyone is welcome to come to this assembly.

“This is about the local community in Port Talbot. We want everyone to be able to speak their mind, and then we’ll sit down together and come up with a plan for what to do.

“What’s happening in this town is devastating for all of us. There is going to be real pain and suffering when the furnaces shut. It didn’t have to be this way, but it is what it is.

“We need to come together as a community to work out what to do next. That means we need everyone to come along and take part. Together, we’re stronger.”

A Facebook Event has been established to provide more information.

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