Commenting on the news that Celsa Steel has agreed an emergency loan from the government, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of the steelworkers’ trade union Community, said:
“This is the right approach from government and this agreement is welcome. We’ve said since the start of this crisis that we need our industry to survive the pandemic and then thrive in the future so it can be at the foundation of the recovery. This agreement with Celsa Steel is a vital part of ensuring that can happen and will help to provide some certainty and confidence at a challenging time. We hope this is just the start of steel companies securing the support from government that they need to get through this crisis.
“The loans are necessary but alone are not enough. More will need to be done by government to step up and stimulate demand and to make sure that works for UK steel producers. Celsa can play an important role in supplying steel for major infrastructure projects but it needs the right environment in which to compete and the right procurement decisions which keep the most value and jobs in the UK.”
The government said the agreement will safeguard a key supplier to the UK construction industry and secures more than 1,000 jobs, including more than 800 positions at the company’s main sites in South Wales.
As part of the loan, which is expected to be repaid in full, the company must meet a series of legally-binding conditions, which the government has negotiated to ensure the loan benefits the workforce, business and wider society. The goverment said this will ensure public money is used to aid wider government policies to further benefit the UK.
Conditions include commitments to protect jobs, climate change and net zero targets, improved corporate governance, such as restraints on executive pay and bonuses, and tax obligations. It has also required further financial commitments from shareholders and existing lenders.
Community is the recognised union at a number of Celsa sites across the UK.