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Steel unions in last ditch plea to SSI and UK government

Community - 22nd September 2015

Steel unions have issued a plea to both SSI and the UK government over the future of steel making on Teesside.

Speaking at Community’s Teesside headquarters, a short distance from the SSI steelworks, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community and Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee, said:

“This morning, along with local MPs Anna Turley and Tom Blenkinsop, I have written to the president of SSI UK asking him to clearly set out as a matter of urgency what support his business requires from the UK government. The wall of silence from SSI is causing deep distress amongst our members and their families and the entire community that depends on Teesside steel.

“The unions stand ready to assist the company in helping to build a sustainable and profitable future. However, SSI must clarify their intentions and make it clear what government intervention is needed.

“In turn, the government must fulfil the promise made by David Cameron last week that he would do everything he could to keep steelmaking on Teesside. His government has talked about the importance of this strategic industry, but warm words have made little difference. Steelworkers on Teesside and the whole of British industry need immediate action.

“The government must take action to protect SSI’s industrial assets. We fear that the integrity of some of the assets is under imminent threat – particularly the Redcar coke ovens. Without action to preserve the assets then we will be even further away from restarting steel making.

“Now is not the time for ministers to heed the siren calls of government officials advising caution. The government must be bold in its intervention and demonstrate it has the political will to give Teesside steel a future.

“The livelihoods of thousands of families and an entire community depend on the actions taken by both SSI and the government in the coming hours and days. If the silence and inaction doesn’t end soon then it may prove too late to save our steel.”