Home Business News Tata Steel warns workers that operations could cease ‘at Port Talbot next week’

Tata Steel warns workers that operations could cease ‘at Port Talbot next week’

28th Jun 24 12:29 pm

Tata Steel have warned that because of strike action by the Unite union they could cease all operations at Port Talbot by 7 July.

Tata had planned to close one blast furnace at the end of June and then next one by September, but because of strike action the company has told workers they fear there will not be sufficient resources available for safe operations at the plant.

Unite said that threats to close the blast furnace some three months earlier will not stop strike action.

Unite national leader Onay Kasab told Radio Wales Breakfast that they are due to speak with Tata over the safety of operations whilst industrial action takes place.

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The BBC reported that Kasab said, “What other option have we got when we are facing 2,800 job losses. We have said to Tata, again and again, ‘wait for a general election, wait for a new Labour government.

A spokesperson for Tata said, “Following the announcement by Unite union to unilaterally call strike action from 8 July, Tata Steel is unfortunately forced to commence legal action to challenge the validity of Unite’s ballot.

“In the coming days, if we cannot be certain that we are able to continue to safely and stably operate our assets through the period of strike action, we will not have any choice but to pause or stop heavy end operations [including both blast furnaces] on the Port Talbot site.

“That is not a decision we would take lightly, and we recognise that it would prove extremely costly and disruptive throughout the supply chain, but the safety of people on or around our sites will always take priority over everything else.”

Sharon Graham, the Unite general secretary, said they are “fighting for the future of the steel industry” and they have “serious investment” from Labour to help keep jobs safe.

She added, “Tata putting out a statement to shut or pause its blast furnaces three months earlier than they intended to is the latest in a long line of threats that won’t deter us.

“The Unite campaign is not about selling jobs, it’s about securing the long-term future of steel making in this country for thousands of workers in Port Talbot and South Wales.”

The Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething said in a statement, “The news that Tata could switch off Blast Furnaces 4 and 5 at Port Talbot next week is extraordinary and will cause huge anxiety for the workforce, their families and the community.

“The Welsh government cannot and will not support the closure of both blast furnaces.”

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