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Unions present Tata with alternative plan aimed at saving Port Talbot jobs

17 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Port Talbot steelworks. Photo Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Unions have given steel giant Tata an alternative plan aimed at saving jobs at the biggest steel plant in the country.

Tata Steel wants to decarbonise its site at Port Talbot in South Wales under moves to safeguard its future.

Unions fear the plan would lead to around 3,000 job losses.

They have used independent consultancy Syndex to draw up an alternative plan for the Port Talbot site which was presented to Tata on Friday.

Charlotte Brumpton-Childs, GMB national officer, said: “Unions always said Tata’s plan wasn’t viable – hopefully the company are beginning to recognise that too.

“The alternative plan developed by Syndex is credible, workable and will secure decarbonised steelmaking in South Wales – as well as further down the supply chain.

“Tata, the Government and unions now need to work together to make it happen.”


A Tata Steel spokesperson said: “Tata Steel, its employee representatives and the UK and Welsh governments are all committed to transitioning to greener steelmaking in the UK.

“While we recognise the understandable concerns of our many stakeholders, we are confident that we can build a sustainable, low carbon business that continues to support steel communities, and will be at the heart of a future green UK economy.

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss the UK Steel Committee’s report and the independent analysis it will offer. We will give it full consideration before entering into formal consultation with our employee representatives and will ensure these discussions are transparent, productive and carried out in a meaningful way.”

A joint statement from unions Community, GMB and Unite said: “The unions have told Tata Steel that their current proposals are unacceptable, and national officials from Community, Unite and GMB met today with the company to present alternative proposals developed by industry experts Syndex.

“The unions believe that Syndex have prepared a credible and deliverable alternative plan to decarbonise steelmaking at Port Talbot which can make the business fully sustainable, avoid compulsory redundancies and safeguard the future for all the downstream sites.

“Today’s discussion was constructive, and moving forward we urge Tata to progress meaningful consultations and show greater ambition to secure the future of Tata Steel UK.

“The stakes are high and the Government must play their part through engaging with the unions to assess the best strategy for the industry and for the country as a whole.”

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “A just transition to net zero can only be delivered with workers at the table. It is unacceptable that the steel unions were locked out of negotiations between ministers and Tata Steel about Port Talbot.

“The agreement reached between Tata Steel and the government is a bad deal for workers, for the steel industry and for the country. It will result in mass job losses, further run down Britain’s industrial capacity and fail to deliver the jobs of the future that we desperately need.

“Today Community, Unite and GMB are putting forward a better plan – one that will protect jobs, lead an industrial revival and meet the UK’s commitment to net zero.

“It’s time for ministers and Tata Steel to step back from the brink, sit down with unions and engage with this serious plan to secure the future of steelmaking at Port Talbot.”

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Sarah Good
Sarah Good
5 months ago

Wow that was a quick design. I would imagine, given the timescale that Tata spent some considerable time coming up with a planned, costed solution involving a high tech solution. Yet the Unions have found a consultant (designer I surmise?) and have in four weeks come up with a solution that they assert is not only definitely better but will revive industry whilst delivering Net Zero carbon. it all sounds a bit “sunlit-uplandsy” to me. Like something you might see written on the side of a bus. I have no idea what the best solution is, but given such certainty… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Sarah Good
4 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

And what’s wrong with a delaying tactic when a greedy globalist corporate sets out to cull 3000 jobs on a whim ?. Electric arc technology is limited in its capability, yet all TATA with its wealth of “talent” did was elect to go electric and map out a path which included dumping coke furnaces. It seems from what the Unions say that little or no consideration was given to other pathways that would achieve a safe environmental outcome and prove less disruptive to employees.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
4 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Delaying tactics? Nothing. But the ruse is transparent and just shows they lie.
The rest of your post is faux outrage about alternative facts you have invented about a company I doubt you know anything about and a technology you clearly know nothing about. I don’t either, but I don’t claim otherwise.
This is obviously a stressful time for the workers at Port Talbot, but everyone lying about things is not going to help find a resolution.

5 months ago

How will they run those arc furnaces if UK is focusing on the wind/solar power programs instead of nuclear ? (Currently, Wind = 4% & Solar = 0% of demand )

Unfortunately, recycled steel is not of the same quality as steel made directly from raw materials due to the inevitable introduction of other compounds from alloys, etc.

So without it, many manufacturers will need to import better quality steel (from India/China). Perhaps this is a national security issue !

5 months ago

Following the news that offshore wind prices will rise to over £100/MWh in the next round of CfDs, it is worthwhile recapping what we are currently paying existing wind farms. The older wind farms, which are covered by ROCs, are currently paid a subsidy of £125/MWh, on top of the market price for the electricity they produce, which was £96/MWh in September. In September therefore we paid a total of £221/MWh. ROC account for about a half of total generation. Newer wind farms are paid via CfDs. Theses guaranteed strike prices vary from one wind farm to another, but in… Read more »

4 months ago
Reply to  saveenergy

All true but you will be classed as a Grade A heretic by the blinkered adherents of the more extreme green “gospels”. Only earlier this week we read of multi billion $ deals to buy up valuable coal deposits and processing resources in Canada. These are coals which are “best fit” for steel making and will no doubt be snapped up by the steel producers in China, India ( including TATA !), Russia, Brazil, with USA no doubt keeping a big sneaky presence in coke fired production capability. The really perverse bit in all this is that such processes are… Read more »

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