In response to recent reports about the UK government’s offer of a £600m support package to Tata Steel and British Steel, Alun Davies, National Officer of Community the steelworkers’ union, said:
We welcome reports that the Government has offered a substantial support package to Tata Steel and British Steel. This is an important step towards protecting jobs and steelmaking at Port Talbot and Scunthorpe.
We call on Tata and British Steel to engage with this offer and negotiate with government to get a deal over the line. Whilst these discussions are ongoing the companies must protect jobs and their full industrial capacity.
The Government may have made an offer, but they must commit to doing what it takes to reach agreement with the companies. For too long our industry has been competing on an unlevel playing field. We have watched our government sit on its hands while our European competitors enjoy extensive support with energy costs and for decarbonisation. This cannot continue if we want to retain a steel industry in this country.
Our European counterparts have seen their governments making serious funding commitments to support huge investment in low carbon steel, and our own government must match that ambition. As part of this, to make our industry long-term competitive, government must bring our energy prices into line with those paid by German producers.
The company and government negotiators must now progress with urgency as thousands of jobs are at stake and investment decisions have to be made. We are clear that any plan to decarbonise Tata or British Steel must be fully consulted on and agreed with the unions, and crucially any plan must ensure a just transition for the workforce.
Britain’s steel industry stands at a crossroads; we cannot go on like this and our industry needs to be fixed. There can be no doubt that fixing our industry is going to require a strategic partnership between the companies and the government. It is imperative that these negotiations succeed, and both sides must play their part.
Britain needs a strong and sustainable steel industry, and with the right investment and ambition, we know our industry can have bright future.
Community is the steelworkers’ union. More steelworkers are members of Community than any other union. We have a history dating back over a century, representing members and campaigning to protect Britain’s steel industry. You can find out more and join here.
- 11,522 people signed the Britain, we need our steel petition. You can see the petition here.
- 33,000 people are directly employed by Britain’s steel industry.
- An additional 40,000 people work in the steel supply chain. Those jobs are reliant on the future of the industry too.
- Over 88 per cent of steelworkers are the main earner in their household.
- £6 billion is what Britain’s steel industry will be worth by 2030.
- £3 billion is the value of exports from Britain’s steel industry.