The news that TATA is to mothball the hot strip mill yet again is devastating news for all the affected workers and their families. I hope that it will prove only to be a temporary measure. With other MP’s in the Parliamentary Steel Group, I have been calling for intervention from the UK Government to stand up for steel andsupport the industry, and today’s announcement is further evidence of this need.
I have asked for a meeting with TATA to discuss the situation and will be raising the matter with Government Ministers.
Response from the Trade Unions
Responding to Tata Steel's announcement that jobs will be lost across Tata Steel's Llanwern and Port Talbot plants, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community and Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee, said:
"We fully acknowledge that Tata Steel, and indeed the entire UK steel industry, is under huge pressure to reduce costs and become sustainable. Cripplingly high energy costs combined with the strength of the pound and a flood of Chinese imports are killing the industry and we desperately need government to Stand up for Steel and make a game-changing intervention.
However it is extremely regretful that most of those to be laid-off are highly motivated and committed young people, currently employed through an agency but who hoped to pursue a career within Tata Steel. It's tragic that these young people, who have been trained up by Tata and in normal circumstances would be considered the future of the business, are being let go in the drive to cut costs and remain competitive in the global marketplace.
Harish Patel, National Officer for Steel at Unite, said:
"The announcement of yet more job losses is of course very disappointing and forms part of a trend we need to put a stop to now. Government, trade unions and employers all need to get behind this industry which supports tens of thousands of families and has such an important contribution to make to our economic future."
David Hulse, National Officer for GMB, said:
"We all know that these are dark days for the steel industry, not only in the UK but pretty much everywhere else too. However this company is blessed with the most highly-skilled and dedicated workforce I've ever come across and I have no doubt they will see this company through providing they're given a fair chance."
Alan Coombs, Community Branch Secretary and Chair of the Port Talbot Multi-Union Committee, said:
"The workforce understands the challenges facing the business and we'll do everything in our power to get us back in the black. That having been said, Tata has to understand that you can't cut your way back to profitability. Tata needs to deliver on its promises to the workforce and drive through the planned investments in Port Talbot, and that includes building the new power station as well as the other investments we need to keep up with the competition.
"This workforce has consistently delivered on everything that has been asked of them and in return we expect Tata to honour the commitments they've made on investment; if there is any deviation from that we will be demanding a meeting with senior management to clarify the position."