Response to minister’s whistle-stop tour of steel sites

Responding to Industry Minister Alan Mak’s visits to UK steel sites this week, Community’s National Officer for Steel Alun Davies said:

“We note that the latest Industry minister has been sneaking around steel sites this week whilst avoiding any engagement with steelworkers. Perhaps that’s understandable, as our members would have told him what they think of his government’s approach to steel.

“We’ve had a long succession of steel ministers under the Conservatives: we’re now on our 13th since 2010. That’s resulted in a woeful lack of leadership and direction for the industry in tumultuous times. Amidst the ministerial merry-go-round there’s been one constant feature: a government which sees steel as a problem to get off its desk, rather than the base for an advanced industrial strategy for the future.”

“The minister had the audacity to trumpet the government’s deal with Tata during his whistle-stop visit to Port Talbot this week. This bargain basement deal will leave the UK as an outlier in the G20 as the only country unable to make its own primary steel. It will mean exporting jobs and importing dirty steel, with a devastating impact on the local community. No wonder the minister didn’t want to stick around to hear the truth.”

Community Assistant General Secretary Alasdair McDiarmid said:

“For all his warm words this week, the minister will know that his government have fallen short and failed our steel industry at every turn. The supercharger has been a massive disappointment, and our steel producers are still not getting a level playing field when it comes to energy costs. Support to help the industry decarbonise has also been piecemeal at best, paling into insignificance in comparison to what other governments in Europe are investing.

“We need a government which will place steel at the heart of a robust manufacturing strategy, and which understands that decarbonisation should not mean deindustrialisation. If Rishi Sunak’s administration wont take the necessary action, they should move aside for a government that will. Labour’s commitment of £3billion to support steel over the next parliament shows what could be achieved with the right ambition.”

Community is the steelworkers’ union. More steelworkers are members of Community than any other union, and we represent the vast majority of workers impacted by Tata’s decarbonisation plans. 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.

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