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Steelworkers to take to the streets this weekend

14 Feb 2024 5 minute read
Port Talbot steelworks

This Saturday (17 February) steelworkers will take to the streets for a series of rallies in support of the industry.

At 1.15pm, a public rally will take place at the Civic Centre Square in Port Talbot.

The assembled crowd is set to be addressed by local politicians, union representatives from Port Talbot steelworks and officials including Community’s General Secretary Roy Rickhuss.

Earlier on in the day, Llanwern steelworkers will march through Newport City Centre starting at 11am.


Both events are family-friendly, and Community is encouraging members of the public to join the rallies and show their support for local steelworkers.

The union has also asked current and former steelworkers attending the events to wear their work jackets and helmets to show the pride they have for the industry.

Community has organised the events in Port Talbot and Newport in response to the 2,800 proposed job losses across Tata Steel’s UK operations.

The company launched its formal 45-day consultation on its damaging proposals for Tata Steel sites – including Port Talbot, Llanwern and Trostre – on Friday 2nd February.

Community has informed the company that unions will not be bound by the 45 days, and has said that consultations should and will take as long as necessary.

Community Union Assistant General Secretary Alasdair McDiarmid said: “Tata’s bad deal for steel would be devastating for South Wales, with thousands of jobs on the line both directly and in the supply chain.

“Losing primary steelmaking capacity at Port Talbot, and downstream capacity at sites like Llanwern and Trostre, would also be a hammer blow for the UK as a whole. The economy would suffer, and Britain losing its strategic steelmaking capability would pose a grave threat to national security and sovereignty.

“We are urging Tata and the UK Government to reconsider the destructive path they are taking us down, and to look again at the credible alternative which is already on the table in the form of the Multi-Union Plan which Community and GMB have put forward.

“That plan now has the backing of a range of industry experts, the Labour Party and Members of the Senedd across all parties.

“The public in south Wales and beyond recognise just how much is at stake here – both for the country and the future of our steel communities – and on Saturday we will join together in calling on Tata and the UK Government to change course before it is too late.”


Community Union’s National Officer for Steel Alun Davies said: “Steel is part of our lifeblood in South Wales – entire communities have been built around it.

“Losing our steelmaking capacity would be a hammer blow that would echo through generations to come.

“We’ve already received huge support from the public in our bid to save our steel sector, and we are expecting hundreds of people to gather together on the weekend in Port Talbot and Newport with a clear, rallying call – we need our steel.

“Whilst Tata have now triggered the formal consultation on their damaging plans, the fight for our industry and our steel communities is gathering pace and growing stronger.

“We hope the public will join us in Newport and Port Talbot on Saturday to send a message to Tata and the UK Government: we will not go quietly into the night, and we will continue to make the case for a fairer, greener alternative to their plans.”

Proud tradition

Stephen Kinnock, MP for Aberavon, said: “Port Talbot steelworks has been the beating heart of our community for generations. Tata’s proposals for the site threaten that proud tradition and the works’ enormous future potential.

“Their narrow, Electric Arc Furnace-only plan would sacrifice highly-skilled local jobs and leave the UK dependent on dirty steel imports. The Tata deal does not work for decarbonisation, does not work for our economy, and it does not work for our national security.

“The Multi-Union Plan put forward by Community and GMB offers a viable, compelling alternative, and it will only be strengthened by the investment which Labour has pledged to deliver in government.

“Now is not the time for Tata to rush ahead on an irreversible and deeply damaging course of action. The people of Port Talbot and South Wales are rightly asking the company to stop and think again before it is too late – it is time for Tata, and the UK Government, to listen.”


Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East, said: “The people of Newport have always stood with our steelworkers and will do so again.

“Tata’s bad deal for steel would be hugely damaging for Llanwern, Port Talbot and all of South Wales; losing vital, highly skilled jobs in support of what is now widely seen as the cheapest option on the table.

“The Tata plan would devastate our primary steelmaking capacity, weaken national security, and undermine wider efforts the green the economy by offshoring carbon emissions to heavily polluting countries overseas.

“It doesnt have to be this way, though. The Multi-Union Plan represents the credible alternative to the Tata-UK Government bad deal for steel, and secures a just transition for workers whilst avoiding the need for any compulsory redundancies.

“Llanwern, Port Talbot and the wider steel industry could and should have a bright future. For that to happen, Tata need to rethink their damaging proposals now.”


The rally in Port Talbot begins at 1.15pm at the Civic Centre Square, Port Talbot (SA13 1PJ)

The march in Newport sets off from Gilligan’s Island (NP20 2ED) at 11am. Marchers will then walk through the city centre, concluding with a gathering and speeches near the Chartists statutes outside the Westgate Hotel.

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