Port Talbot steelworks in South Wales are facing “large-scale job losses” as Tata has told unions on Thursday that they will continue to close the blast furnaces.
More than 3,000 jobs are now at risk as Tata will produce “green” steel and build electric arc furnaces (EAF).
Industrial action is now not being ruled out and unions are to consult with their members moving forwards.
A Tata Steel spokesman said, “We have recently announced a joint agreement between Tata Steel and UK Government for a proposal to invest in state-of-the art Electric Arc Furnace steelmaking in Port Talbot.
“We are committed to meaningful information sharing and consultation with our trade union partners about the plan to develop sustainable steelmaking in the UK and to find solutions for concerns they may have.
“While those discussions are ongoing it would not be appropriate to comment further.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds said: “I am deeply disappointed to hear that Tata Steel will be closing their remaining blast furnaces in the UK, something which could have a devastating impact on communities across the country, particularly in Port Talbot, where the local economy is reliant on the nearby steel plant.
“The UK Conservative Government, through their inability to support investment into UK steel, has failed towns like Port Talbot across the country.
“If the UK Government was willing to implement a real and sustainable industrial strategy that protected jobs whilst simultaneously supporting the transition to low carbon sectors, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this mess.
“But now we are here, on the verge of witnessing the destruction of Port Talbot.
“The Prime Minister and his cabinet will never know what it’s like for the thousands of workers at risk of losing their jobs, they will never know the constant worrying and anxiety that comes with the prospect of losing one’s livelihood.”
Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, home of the Port Talbot steelworks, said: “Tata’s decision to follow the Conservative business model of managed decline for British steelmaking will cause the job losses of 3,000 hard-working men and women, each of whom have dedicated their lives to an industry which underpins Britain’s automotive industry, railways, defence sector, consumer goods, construction, wind turbines and so much more.
“Global demand for steel is actually growing, but by pursuing a narrow electric arc furnace-only model, Tata Steel will be unable to seize the commercial opportunities of the future, while at the same time leaving Britain more dependent on imported steel from countries whose governments won’t always have Britain’s best interests at heart.”
The National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee said in a statement: “The steel unions met today with a senior Tata Steel delegation led by Koushik Chatterjee, and the company responded to the multi-union plan laying out an alternative decarbonisation strategy for Tata Steel UK.
“We will be communicating the outcomes of the meeting to our members in the first instance, as is right and proper, and we will make a further more detailed public statement in due course.”
Charlotte Brumpton-Childs, GMB national officer, said: “Large-scale job losses would be a crushing blow to Port Talbot and UK manufacturing in general.
“It doesn’t have to be this way – unions provided a realistic, costed alternative that would rule out all compulsory redundancies.
“This plan appears to have fallen on deaf ears and now steelworkers and their families will suffer.”