Home Business News Steelworkers vote for strike action amid planned job cuts

Steelworkers vote for strike action amid planned job cuts

by LLB staff reporter
11th Apr 24 3:50 pm

Unite has said that 1,500 steelworkers have voted for strike action in a protest against job losses at the Port Talbot Steel Work in South Wales.

Tata announced that they will close the blast furnaces and replace them with green electric arc furnaces.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is an historic vote. Not since the 1980s have steel workers voted to strike in this way.

“This yes vote has happened despite Tata’s threats that if workers took strike action, enhanced redundancy packages would be withdrawn.

“Unite will be at the forefront of the fight to save steelmaking in Wales. We will support steel by all and every means.

“Other EU countries are transitioning their steel industries while retaining and growing their capacity because they know steel has a bright future – a 10-fold increase in demand is predicted in the coming years.

“In the UK, Tata’s plans and those of the Government reflect the short-term thinking of a clapped-out disinterested government marking time to a general election.

“In contrast Labour have done the right thing and committed £3 billion to UK steel following intense discussions with Unite.

“The average age of a Unite Port Talbot worker is 36. Workers and the communities of Port Talbot and Llanwern are looking to the years ahead.

“They know that with the right choices steelmaking capacity and jobs can be kept and the benefits of growing the industry grasped.

“In the crucial weeks to come, Tata’s workers and Unite will put up picket lines to prevent the company from taking this disastrous path.”

The union’s Wales regional secretary Peter Hughes said: “Tata has employed everything from bribes to threats to discourage our members from industrial action.

“They will not be intimidated into standing by while Tata attempts to carry out an act of devastating industrial vandalism against their jobs and communities, inflicting untold harm on the Welsh economy and the UK’s national interest.

“Our members have their union’s absolute support in striking to stop these cuts – Unite is backing them every step of the way.”

General secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “Tata’s bad deal for steel would be a hammer blow for our steel industry. It would see vital skilled jobs lost, and dirty steel products imported from overseas.

“The loss of primary steelmaking capacity would make Britain an outlier on the G20, and would weaken national security in an increasingly uncertain world.

“That’s to say nothing of the devastation that would be wrought on communities built on steel in South Wales and beyond.

“Tata’s plan is bad for jobs, bad for the environment and bad for Britain. It’s unviable, undeliverable and unacceptable, and our members won’t be bullied or intimidated into accepting it.

“Industrial action is always a last resort for any worker, but our members know that we now have to fight to save our industry, and we must every tool at our disposal to apply pressure on Tata to change course.

“We are urging our members to vote ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ for industrial action, and we urge the company to look again at our multi-union plan – a credible alternative to Tata’s plan which safeguards primary steelmaking capacity and avoids compulsory redundancies.”

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