Responding to the announcement today that Redcar steel maker SSI is mothballing its iron and steelmaking facilities and around 1700 workers facing potential redundancy, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:
“We had begun to fear the worst over the past few days and this will be devastating news for our members and their families. We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the company to understand the detail of this announcement. We will also be putting in place support for our members in the days and weeks ahead.
“Steel making on Teesside must have a future and our fight to save our steel will continue. The industrial assets must be preserved at all costs and the skills base also needs to be protected. These vital industrial skills have been passed down through the generations and must not be lost. That blast furnace must not become a monument to 170 years of history and it must be mothballed properly to preserve its integrity and give it the chance of a future. We have serious concerns about the ability of SSI to do this and so the government must step in to ensure that the mothballing is done properly.
“The cost of inaction and the demise of the assets could extend to hundreds of millions of pounds. Not just the cost of cleaning up the site but the economic and social costs from devastating an entire steel community and the lives of the thousands of families who depend upon it.
“The Prime Minister said his government would do ‘everything we can’ to support the UK steel industry. He needs to deliver on that. Now is the time to demonstrate the political will to see a vital foundation industry continue.
“Steelworkers will not give up on their industry and their heritage. The government must not give up on Teeside’s steelworkers.”