Community has welcomed the news that Tata will no longer be making an announcement on the future of Port Talbot steelworks today.
Community Union’s General Secretary Roy Rickhuss said:
“We welcome Tata’s decision to cancel their announcement today on the future of Port Talbot’s heavy end.
“It’s important that the company now uses this opportunity to pause and engage with the unions, and our experts at Syndex, to develop alternative options to decarbonise our industry.
“We can decarbonise steelmaking and deliver a just transition for the dedicated workforce at Port Talbot and its downstream sites. Tata need to reflect on this and work with us to give our steel industry the bright future it deserves.”
Community has previously highlighted how an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF)-only approach is the wrong solution to decarbonising the steel industry. Such an approach would require the import of virgin steel to supplement scrap steel used in furnaces – meaning that carbon emissions would be exported to heavy-polluting countries and the industry would no longer be self-sufficient in the UK.
Currently it is not technologically possible to make the substrate for tinplate via the EAF route. This means that switching to an EAF-only model would mean the likely closure of the Trostre tinplate works in Llanelli at a cost of more than 700 jobs.
It is also not possible to make some high-end automotive steels using EAFs, which again threatens jobs, particularly at the Llanwern works. A red line for the unions has always been that the future for all downstream plants must be secured as part of any transition.
Alternatives to an EAF-only approach are discussed in the Financial Times’ new video ‘Can the steel industry go green?’, featuring Community Union’s National Officer for Steel Alun Davies. You can watch this here: https://www.ft.com/video/d70764be-05d4-4a81-95f7-163bb00cd8fc
Community is the trade union for steelworkers, providing a first class service to those working in blue and white collar roles across steelworks, foundries and manufacturing. 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. We are a modern trade union, campaigning for a better working world.