Steelworkers to stage protest outside Parliament
Hundreds of steel workers will stage a protest outside Parliament today as new figures show almost 150,000 jobs have been lost in the industry over the past 40 years.
The GMB union said its research suggested that between 1981 and 2021, almost 80% of jobs in the entire steel sector have gone.
Workers from across the country will march from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square calling for a “proper industrial strategy” and relief from the energy costs unions say are crippling the steel sector.
Wither and die
Charlotte Childs, GMB national officer, said: “Under this Government’s watch, the UK’s proud steel industry is being allowed to wither and die.
“Almost 150,000 jobs have gone – close to 80% of the entire steel workforce.
“A lack of industrial strategy and no support for crippling energy costs have left the industry at risk of ‘steel dumping’ from overseas.
“We need action know, or the industry as we know it will cease to exist.”
Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, said: “Britain needs its steel industry, our country is made from it; the roads we drive, the bridges we cross, the hospitals that heal us and the schools our children learn in.
“But the UK Government must decide whether it wants a steel industry in this country.
“In the absence of Government backing, we face Britain’s proud history of steelmaking coming to an end.
“Our steel industry cannot survive if we continue to pay far more for energy than our EU competitors and it cannot decarbonise if the Government doesn’t support the transition toward Net Zero.
“Steelworkers don’t ask for handouts – simply the chance to compete on a level playing field and to protect an industry of crucial national importance.”
Stephen Kinnock, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Member of Parliament for Aberavon – home of the UK’s largest steelworks in Port Talbot said: “I’m proud to support the march organised by Community and to support the steelworkers marching in Westminster today.
“Community’s campaign has one clear message to the Government and the wider public: ‘Britain, We Need Our Steel’.
“As well as providing high-wage, secure jobs across the length and breadth of our country, making steel here in the UK is critical for our industrial foundations, national security and economic resilience in a world where we simply cannot predict the next move of hostile foreign governments.
“Global demand for steel is going up and Britain deserves a piece of the pie, but we will only seize the huge opportunities that are out there if the Government partners with steel firms to help them decarbonise and get ahead of the competition.”
A Department for Business and Trade spokesman said: “This Government believes that steel plays a vital role in the UK economy, supporting local jobs and economic growth.
“We introduced the British Industry Supercharger to make our steel industry more competitive by bringing down energy prices and protecting the UK steel industry from unfair trading practices.
“We are working closely with the sector to secure a sustainable, decarbonised and competitive future for steel.”