Nigel Farage has blasted Tata Steel after they have confirmed they will axe 3,000 jobs as the steelmaker will close the blast furnaces.
The former Ukip leader warned that the UK will “stop” being the “primary steel producer” meaning Britain will have “to import” products.
Tata has said that they will produce “green” steel and build electric arc furnaces (EAF), but Farage said this is strategically dangerous as importing steel will lead to “higher emissions.”
Farage said in a post on X, “It is a disaster that Net Zero is costing 3,000 steel jobs and that we will stop being a primary steel producer.
“It is dangerous strategically and means we have to import products made with higher emissions. Totally mad.”
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Port Talbot steelworks are facing ‘large-scale job losses’ as Tata will press ahead to close furnaces
Tata said in a statement, “Tata Steel today announced it will commence statutory consultation as part of its plan to transform and restructure its UK business.
“This plan is intended to reverse more than a decade of losses and transition from the legacy blast furnaces to a more sustainable, green steel business.
“The transformation would secure most of Tata Steel UK’s existing product capability and maintain the country’s self-sufficiency in steelmaking, while also reducing Tata Steel UK’s CO2 emissions by five million tonnes per year and overall UK country emissions by about 1.5%.”
A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are determined to secure a sustainable and competitive future for the UK steel sector, which is why we have committed £500million of UK Government support that will transform the site and protect thousands of jobs – both in Port Talbot and throughout the supply chain.
“Engagement with trade unions is rightly a company-led process.
“There is a broad range of support for staff affected, including a dedicated Transition Board backed by £80 million funding from UK Government and £20 million from Tata Steel.
“Chaired by the Welsh Secretary with ministerial representation from the Welsh Government, the Board will support both affected employees and the local economy.”
The steel unions – Community, Unite and GMB – met yesterday with senior representatives of Tata Steel, who formally responded to reject the Multi-Union Plan that the unions presented to the company on the 17th of November.
This is of course extremely disappointing. In one area the company did accept the Multi-Union recommendation, which is to keep the Hot Strip Mill open to roll slab over a transition period, supporting hundreds of jobs there, but Tata have rejected our broader proposals to safeguard production capacity and protect jobs
The GMB union and the community said in a joint statement, “Since Tata Steel and the UK Government announced their bad deal for steel on the 15th of September, the unions have been clear that proposals to install a 3mt Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) are completely unacceptable.
“As Community and the GMB, our experts and Tata Steel all understand, the installation of a 3mt EAF Port Talbot inevitably means the end of the blast furnaces, major production cuts and thousands of job losses before 2027.
“It is extremely regretful that despite the incontrovertible evidence one union has refused to accept the facts, and continues to undermine the Multi-Union through their support for a 3mt EAF and unilaterally campaigning for discredited fantasy solutions.
“We urge them, once again, to get back on board and work with us to deliver the best possible outcomes for all of our members.
“The Multi-Union Plan was developed in line with the steel unions’ red lines agreed three years ago, which are to secure the future of Port Talbot steelmaking, to protect production capacity and the future of all the downstream plants, and to avoid any compulsory redundancies.
“The Multi-Union Plan was previously endorsed by all the steel unions and, as the company has acknowledged, proposes a credible alternative strategy for the decarbonisation of Tata Steel UK.
“More than 3,000 jobs and the future of British steelmaking is at stake. It is an absolute disgrace that Tata Steel, and the UK Government, appear intent on pursuing the cheapest instead of the best plan for our industry, our steelworkers and our country.
“It’s unbelievable any Government would give a company £500m to throw 3,000 workers on the scrapheap, and our Government must reevaluate its miserly offer to support investment at Tata Steel.
“The German, French and Spanish Governments are all committing billions to secure the future of their strategically important steel industries, and our Government must show similar ambition. It is encouraging that the Labour Party have reaffirmed their commitment to the £3bn Green Steel Fund, and using it to supporting a just transition at Tata Steel UK.
“Tata must think again, and work with the UK Government and Labour to unlock the investment our industry needs and deserves.
“Community and GMB do not accept Tata Steel’s rejection of the Multi-Union Plan and confirmation they intend to press forward with their original devastating proposals. We will now consult our members on next steps and all options to protect jobs are on the table, including industrial action.
“Tata Steel and the UK Government must reconsider their positions in order to safeguard the future of British steelmaking, and head off a major industrial dispute.
“Since Tata acquired our business in 2007 they have been a responsible owner, and we recognise they have taken a long-term view where others might not have done. The coming weeks will put Tata’s values to the test.”