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UK Government minister accused of avoiding engagement with steelworkers

10 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Tata Steel’s Port Talbot steelworks. Photo Ben Birchall/PA Wire

A UK Government minister has been accused of “avoiding” engagement with workers during recent visits to steel plants.

Industry minister Alan Mak travelled to four sites, including Port Talbot, where jobs are set to be lost as owner Tata moves to produce steel in a more environmentally friendly way.

Mr Mak spent three hours in Port Talbot and also visited Celsa Steel in Cardiff and British Steel plants in the North East.

He said in a statement that the Government is backing the UK steel industry for the long term.

He was given a tour of the site of the proposed new electric arc furnace in Port Talbot, which will replace existing coal-powered blast furnaces.

‘Sneaking around’

Alun Davies, national officer of the Community trade union, said: “We note that the latest industry minister has been sneaking around steel sites this week whilst avoiding any engagement with steelworkers. Perhaps that’s understandable, as our members would have told him what they think of his Government’s approach to steel.

“We’ve had a long succession of steel ministers under the Conservatives: we’re now on our 13th since 2010. That’s resulted in a woeful lack of leadership and direction for the industry in tumultuous times.

“Amidst the ministerial merry-go-round there’s been one constant feature – a Government which sees steel as a problem to get off its desk, rather than the base for an advanced industrial strategy for the future.

“The minister had the audacity to trumpet the Government’s deal with Tata during his whistle-stop visit to Port Talbot this week.

“This bargain-basement deal will leave the UK as an outlier in the G20 as the only country unable to make its own primary steel. It will mean exporting jobs and importing dirty steel, with a devastating impact on the local community. No wonder the minister didn’t want to stick around to hear the truth.”

Mr Mak said: “This Government is backing the UK steel industry for the long term, and I’m pleased my first visit as industry minister is to see the steelmaking operation up close and show our commitment to the sector is stronger than ever, building on recent wins for UK steel including the launch of our British Industry Supercharger, which will cut costs and give a huge boost to businesses.”

Tata insists its plans for Port Talbot will secure the plant’s future and avoid even heavier job losses.

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Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago

TATA Investment for primary steel making is going to a country within the European single market.

Wales has followed the UK regime and left that European single market.

Is Labour committed to the UK re-entering the European single market and the EU ?
If the answer is ‘no’ then we must proceed with an independent Wales.
People of Wales should support Plaid Cymru for a Senedd majority ASAP.

Then only the Liberal Democrats and Greens can save England from certain disaster.

1 month ago

Given the fact that while still members of the EU, the UK Gov were the only gov to oppose EU protection of European steel industry, to expect any change after Brexit, is frankly wishful thinking , one could say delusional even.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Am I surprised by this no show Conservative cowardice. Not really. The Tories are well known from run away from responsibility. Sadly most in Port Talbot chose to believe the very Conservative party with Brexit , the very same who happily threw Welsh communities under their political bus with pit closets in the 1980s. And I echo others when they say not to get your hopes up regarding their “socialist” saviour UK Labour riding aloft their white horse to the rescue. Sorry to burst your bubble all you naive Labour supporters, but if genocidal enabler Keir Starmer doesn’t care about… Read more »

1 month ago

Er, UK Steel industry? It is foreign investments with the eye on the bottom line and can yank that industry anytime they want.

What the betting they are set to fail after Labour win the GE….

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