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Starmer vows to do whatever he can to preserve steel jobs jobs at Port Talbot

03 Jul 2024 3 minute read
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer in Whitland, Carmarthenshire, on the final day campaigning for the General Election. Photo Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he will do whatever he can to preserve jobs at Port Talbot’s steelworks, but refused to say how much money he would be willing to spend to prevent its closure.

Steel giant Tata plans to close blast furnaces at the plant, switching to a greener form of steel production which requires fewer staff. An estimated 2,800 jobs will be lost at Port Talbot and Llanwern as a result of the move.

On Monday (1 July), the trade union Unite confirmed that a planned strike by its members next week in protest at the job losses had been suspended.

Vitally important

Speaking in Carmarthenshire on the final day of the general election campaign, the Labour leader said: “The most important thing is to work with Tata Steel on the plan that they’re putting in place, that’s what I want to do. That’s what the First Minister (Vaughan Gething) here wants to do.

“That is vitally important and, as you would expect, even in opposition we have been having discussions to try and make sure that what at one stage looked might happen in the next few days doesn’t happen.

“I’m pleased that for the time being at least, the situation is better at Tata Steel, but if we’re elected into government I will double down, working with the Welsh Government, to make sure we can do whatever we can to preserve jobs and to preserve steel-making here in Wales, because it’s very, very important.”

Discussions

Following the announcement of the cancellation of next Monday’s strike, a Tata spokesperson said the company would stop the early cessations of operations of the final blast furnace – Blast Furnace 4 – which will instead close in September as originally planned.

They added: “The resumption of discussions with the UKSC (steel committee) will progress from the position reached in the last meeting of May 22 and will focus on the future investments and aspirations for the business, and not on a renegotiation of our existing plan for the heavy-end closure or the enhanced employment support terms.

“The wind-down process for Blast Furnace 5 has now begun to plan and we expect to produce the final iron at the end of this week.”


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Matt Evans
Matt Evans
11 days ago

So in 48-72hrs, Starmer will turn around and say he did what could but just like the HS2 money and everything else, there isn’t the money.

Meg
Meg
11 days ago

Is there anyone anywhere who still believes this weathercock?

Adrian
Adrian
11 days ago
Reply to  Meg

Overuse of the word ‘weather’.

Adrian
Adrian
11 days ago

But Keith – you’ve been telling us for years that there’ll be thousands of ‘green’ jobs – whatever they are. Where are they in Port Talbot?

Valley girl
Valley girl
11 days ago

The question we all want to know is will Starmer give Wales further devolved powers.

Taffy
Taffy
11 days ago

They’re turning blast furnace 5 off tomorrow morning so….bit late!

Adrian
Adrian
11 days ago
Reply to  Taffy

Yes, turns out you can’t run a furnace with a couple of windmills.

Last edited 11 days ago by Adrian
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 days ago

Clark of Kent already thinks he is Nostradamus, Mystic Meg and Moses…with a hint of any of several ‘you will do it my way merchants’…eg Stalin, Putin, Kim, leave it out…Clark…just who will step out of that phone box we are shortly to discover…watch your back and your principals Red Sonia…

Adrian
Adrian
11 days ago

Phew! Starmer to the rescue: doubtless he’ll start handing out those ‘green’ jobs he’s been telling us about.

Last edited 11 days ago by Adrian

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