The government have announced on Friday afternoon that they will provide £500 million into the UK’s largest steelworks, but up to 3,000 jobs remain at risk.
Tata who owns Port Talbot Steelworks, South Wales will use the government’s funding to “produce greener” steel to move away from coal to electric furnaces that will run on zero-carbon electricity.
Tata who employs 8,000 people across the UK are to also invest £750 million into the zero-carbon project.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “There were fears that around 8,000 jobs could be lost if steelmaking was lost at that plant. That clearly was a risk because those two blast furnaces there are reaching the end of their life.
“I’m pleased that the Government has managed to reach an agreement with Tata to support them in that transition, but they will also be making a very substantial capital investment into the plant to secure thousands of jobs.
“Obviously, there will still be some people affected and I know this will be an anxious time for them.”
Union leaders have expressed frustrations and anger as they were shut out of talks between the government and Tata which is a “disgrace.”
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “These plans are disgraceful, short-sighted and lack ambition.
“Unite will be fighting tooth and nail not only to save these jobs but to create more jobs in steel.”
Gary Smith, GMB general secretary, said: “The jobs of thousands of steelworkers are now at risk. The cost to local people and the wider Port Talbot community will be immense.
“Once again, we have the spectacle of leaders talking up the fantasy land of a ‘just transition’ while the bitter reality for workers is them getting the sack.”
Labour’s shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds MP said, “Only the Tories could spend £500 million of taxpayers’ money to make thousands of British workers redundant.”
Plaid Cymru members for South Wales West, Luke Fletcher and Sioned Williams, said: “The potential job losses at Tata’s Port Talbot plant will have a devastating impact not only on the people of Port Talbot and its neighbouring communities but on the local and national economy.
“Our solidarity is with the workers at this time and we stand ready to support those who need it.”
Tata Steel’s chief executive and managing director, TV Narendran, said: “We will undertake a meaningful consultation with the unions on the proposed transition pathway in the context of future risk and opportunities for Tata Steel UK.
“With the support of the UK Government and dedicated efforts of the employees of Tata Steel UK along with all stakeholders, we will work to transform Tata Steel UK into a green, modern, future-ready business.”