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Steelworkers back industrial action in protest at planned job losses at Tata

09 May 2024 3 minute read
A steel worker wearing a badge on his jacket outside Port Talbot steelworks. Photo Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Members of a steelworkers’ union have voted to take industrial action in protest at planned job losses at Tata.

Community said its members backed industrial action by 85%.

Unions are campaigning against plans by Tata to change steel production at its site in Port Talbot, South Wales, to a greener method of steelmaking.

Verdict

Community national officer Alun Davies said: “Today our members delivered their verdict on Tata Steel’s job cuts plan, and they have voted to demand a better deal for the workforce.

“Community balloted more than 3,000 members across all Tata Steel UK production sites, and more than 85% have voted for industrial action.

“It should be noted this resounding mandate has been delivered in spite of the company’s bullying and unacceptable threats to slash redundancy payments.

“We will now be consulting our members on next steps, and we urge Tata to reconsider their position and get back around the table to head off a major industrial dispute.”

Members of Unite have also voted to strike, while the GMB is yet to announce the result of its ballot.

Tata says it is investing in a new electric arc furnace at Port Talbot which will secure thousands of jobs.

Package of support

A Tata Steel spokesperson said: “Following the announcement in January of the company’s plans to invest £1.25 billion and to restructure the UK business, we started a formal information-sharing and consultation process with our trades union colleagues, which continues in an open, collaborative and constructive fashion.

“On 22 March, we put forward a significantly enhanced, comprehensive package of support for employees impacted by the proposed transformation, which we have further added to this week – a commitment of £200 million.

“We are naturally disappointed that while consultation continues, some Community members across Tata Steel UK have indicated that they would be prepared to take industrial action up to and including strike action if an agreement cannot be reached on a way forward for the business and its employees.

“While the £1.25 billion commitment with the UK Government will ensure a long-term viable future for low-CO2 steelmaking in the UK, our current business is unsustainable, reporting losses of more than £1 million a day.

“This investment is critical as much of our existing iron and steelmaking operation in Port Talbot is at the end of its life, is unreliable and inefficient, and it was for this reason that we had to cease our coke-making operations on March 20.

“By restructuring our UK operations we will be able to sustain the business as we transition to new electric arc furnace technology.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
14 days ago

Has the First Minister taken any union reps with him on his away day to India ?

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