Under plans to produce “greener” steel unions are fearing that thousands of jobs could be lost at the UK’s biggest steelworks.
Tata have been in talks with the government over state aid worth hundreds of millions to convert from coal fired furnaces to electric arc versions which a zero-carbon electricity.
Tata who own Port Talbot steelworks in South Wales could be set to make around 3,000 people redundant, unions are fearing.
Tata, the Indian conglomerate warned in 2022 that unless there is government funding to move to the less carbon-intensive electric furnaces then UK operations are at risk.
Charlotte Brumpton-Childs, GMB national officer, said, “Government intervention in the steel industry is long overdue, but imposing a program without proper worker consultation is unacceptable.
“GMB has urged ministers and Tata Steel to have a longer-term view on the decarbonisation of steel.
“It is not a just transition if thousands of jobs are sacrificed in the name of short-term environmental gains.
“We wholeheartedly support the move to modernise and decarbonise the industry, in fact we have sought this type of investment for years.
“But ignoring technologies outside of electric arc furnaces will mean tens of thousands of people will lose their livelihoods.”
Alun Davies, national officer for the Community union, said, “There must be a full and meaningful consultation on all the options to decarbonise steelmaking and secure the future of every UK plant.
“Community will do everything within its powers to support our members and protect their jobs.”
Gary Smith, general secretary of the GMB union told the PA news agency, “This deal will have devastating consequences for jobs and workers. It will rip the heart out of the Port Talbot community.
“For years, GMB has called for investment in this critically important industry. Instead of listening the Government dithered and delayed until it is too late, and thousands of workers, their families and communities will pay the price.
“Our country cannot be secure without a functioning domestic steel industry and workers must be at the heart of plans to modernise it.
“Once again, we see how so-called transitions are anything but fair or just for working people.”