Last night’s reports from Community Union in Mumbai following Tata’s board meeting are keenly felt in Newport at Llanwern, as well as Port Talbot and other operations in the UK that are affected.
Tata have since confirmed that they are looking to “explore all options for restructuring”. Their statement is here.
This is clearly deeply worrying news for steel workers, their families, and all those in the supply chain, who over recent months and years have lived with the uncertainty as the steel industry in the UK faces critical challenges. Along with other Steel MPs, I have constantly called on the UK Government in Parliament to do more to help save our industry but help has been far too slow.
I know yesterday’s news has been met with shock and anger. At Llanwern we’ve seen hundreds of job losses over the past few years with the mothballing of the hot strip mill three times since 2009, and more recently the mothballing of the cold mill and one of the pickle lines, as well as the reduction in tonnage on the remaining pickle line. In recent weeks workers have been learning who will be affected by the 750 job losses announced across the strip products division across Llanwern as well as Port Talbot.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM has this morning said, “I want the Welsh steelworkers and their families to know that no stone will be left unturned in our bid to support you through what comes”, and the UK Steel Minster has said the Government has “huge sympathy”. In a joint statement, the Welsh and UK Governments said they were both “working tirelessly to look at all viable options to keep a strong British steel industry at the heart of our manufacturing base”. As the review process begins we now need to know what that means for Llanwern, what Government support is available, and what help there is to find potential buyers.
I am going to Llanwern today with John Griffiths AM to talk to the Unions, and as the review begins we’ll ensure Llanwern’s voice is heard as we absorb Tata’s proposals and do everything in our power to help.