Responding to the announcement that Tata Steel is looking to cut 1,1700 jobs from its Long Products business, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of steel union Community, which represents the majority of workers affected said:
“Our immediate thoughts are with the workers and their families who will be affected by this announcement. Community representatives will be looking to sit down with the company, to understand the detail and to look at all alternatives that save jobs and uphold our principle of no compulsory redundancies. We will also be putting in place advice and support for our members who are affected.
“The government should hang its head in shame at today’s news. The cruel irony of the Prime Minister welcoming the Chinese Premier as UK steel jobs are cut partly due to Chinese steel dumping will not be lost on the UK’s steelworkers and their communities. We have been saying for years that more government action is needed to support UK steel as a vital foundation industry. We have made clear that the situation is urgent. Despite these warnings the government has been too slow to respond.
“It is not enough for the David Cameron to ‘raise’ the issue of steel dumping with the Chinese, he should be telling them what action he will be taking to stop steel dumping. The UK government could also show its support for the UK steel industry by bringing forward the compensation package for energy intensive industry. UK steel making is on its knees but I know that steelworkers across the UK are determined to fight for their future for the sake of their jobs, their families and their communities.
“There is also a role for the Scottish government to ensure that today’s news does not signal the beginning of the end of Scotland’s steel heritage and that they honour the commitments they gave over the weekend to intervene in the interests of steel making in Scotland.”
Paul McBean, Community’s lead rep who works at the Scunthorpe site, said:
“This is devastating news for everyone and their families. It’s another blow to Scunthorpe steel making. The workforce has done everything we can in recent years to make a success of the business and give us the chance of a future. But we can’t do it alone. We need the government to step up and take action. The Prime Minister needs to show that he wants a steel industry in the UK. We need a sign that we’ve got a future. All we want is a level playing to field to compete on.”
Ross Clark, Community’s lead rep at Tata Steel Dalzell, said:
“Everybody’s devastated and worried by today’s news. We’ve faced a lot of challenges in this business and we’ve overcome them but now our future is uncertain. We welcome the fact the Scottish government is going to set up a taskforce and Community will play a full role in that. The taskforce must deliver on the promises the Scottish government has made in recent days to save our steel. It needs to come up with real practical solutions that protect the workforce, the skills and the assets until we can find an alternative and sustainable future.”
1. Community is the largest and leading trade union in the steel industry.
2. For more information, contact Callum Munro on 07821250904 or Matt Ball on 07799772250.