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Unions warn they will take action to preserve steel making at Port Talbot

20 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Port Talbot steelworks. Photo Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Unions have stepped up warnings of industrial action in response to job losses at the Port Talbot steel plant.

Tata has decided to press ahead with closing blast furnaces at its site in Port Talbot, under plans to shift to low-carbon steel production.

The move will lead to the loss of up to 2,800 jobs and more in firms which supply the plant with goods and services.

Tata is pledging a £130 million support package to help workers retrain or find new jobs.

Unions have warned the decision will be devastating for the South Wales economy, as well as the steel industry.

They will consult workers on how to respond after Tata rejected union proposals which they say would have saved jobs.

Mockery

Alun Davies, national officer at the Community union said on Saturday: “Our members at Port Talbot are hurting today and feel incredibly let down by Tata now they have confirmed their intention to follow a path of job losses, a botched approach to decarbonisation, and the destruction of our steel industry as we know it.

“Tata’s actions make a mockery of their so-called values, we’re not going to accept it and we will be consulting our members on how we proceed including the potential of industrial action.

“In the meantime, our message to Tata and the Government is clear: with the right investment, there is an opportunity here to take a different path which will safeguard jobs, our economy and our environment.

“We will keep making that case – there is too much at stake not to.

“We need our steel industry, and the decisions made over the weeks and months ahead will be critical to ensure it has a future here in South Wales and beyond.”

Unite’s Wales secretary Peter Hughes said: “Our members are angry and frustrated and will do anything to preserve steel making at Port Talbot, including taking industrial action.”

The Prime Minister insisted on Friday that the Government remains committed to supporting the British steel industry.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Steel unions have been pressing the Government to develop a serious plan for UK steel for years.

“The Prime Minister can’t stand by and let thousands of jobs go to the wall. It is essential that the company and ministers step back from these devastating plans.

“Other countries are actively investing and future-proofing their industrial heartlands. We cannot afford to become an outlier.

“We urgently need a proper industrial strategy to prevent crises like these from happening again.”


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Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Afraid to say this is (once again) groundhog day in Wales. Almost exactly 44 years ago we would have watched with horror as economic devastation was being wrought on the south wales community of port talbot and it’s steel making plant while a conservative govt at westminster looked on with seeming indifference. So you have to ask what has really changed in the subsequent 4 decades? And the grim (and honest) answer is that nothing’s really changed. And nothing will change – and more economic horrors like this will be visited on welsh communities in the coming years – while… Read more »

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

At the same time some 40 years ago Thatcher and co closed the coal mines, wreaking havoc on the Welsh valleys. Nothing was done to replace the jobs lost despite all the promises. Same this time round. The Tories are destroying the economy of Wales in more ways than one while hiding behind the ‘green’ agenda. Seems licencing oil extraction is supported but phased changes to Port Talbot steel industry is rejected. Again nothing will be done to replace the jobs. Unfortunately Starmer’s Labour are no better, their policies are monetarist and Thatcherite, so much so only the trade unions… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

You say in your 4th line – ….“a conservative govt at westminster looked on with seeming indifference.” Not the case at all. That government had placed a bully boy from North America in to run BSC, as was, with the intention of slimming it down (fair objective if done properly) and blunting the strength of the unions in the industry, which was a purely political objective aimed at making the reshaped BSC a more appetising proposition for the privatisation process. That Conservative government was never “business friendly”. Instead they and all other governments since were too close to the global… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Happy to be corrected on that point H 👍 (remiss of me to overlook Macgregor’s role in matters)

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Capitalism is all the same, global or not. Greed is good!. First to the trough. Competition competition, competition. Leading to war.war war.

It’s always about cost, never about the value..
For things that are vital to us – like industry, NHS, Water. etc – .cost shouldn’t matter. Britain is awash with money – just look around. We’ve had 44 years of a system that doesn’t work. No money for clean water – no percentage in it for the shareholders. But plenty money for bombs.We’ve screwed up big time.

Unions may be the only hope Port Talbot has? I don’t know.

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

This is the debate from 1987 record held on Hansard.
https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1987/dec/03/british-steel-corporation-privatisation
It is a bit of a long read but remember Ian McGregor? The gist of it all is this will be good for the long term security and job.
ARTFD managed to sound upset but this is his parties legacy.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

With thousands of jobs going that will devastate not only Port Talbot but the wider community have Rishy Sunak ignoring requests from Welsh Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford to discuss Tata Steel says everything about this bloody minded arrogant selfish entitled Tory plutocrat in London.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The independent constitutional commission did say that the current arrangement with the UK will continue to result in Wales staying poor country and will get poorer. Unless we change the current system there is no hope for advance and it will stay the way it is where the UK takes the profits and leaves the Welsh economy in ruins. Federalisation was one that could be one solution but yet again that would depend on England dividing into regions as well as Scotland. Such a plan has been rejected up to now. Our only certain plan that Wales can take is… Read more »

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Net zero is the problem, Llafur well I don’t know what to say. Sad sad sad

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