First Minister in Mumbai in bid to secure Tata Steel jobs

Date:

The First Minister, Vaughan Gething, has travelled to Mumbai today to meet the leaders of Tata Steel and make the case for avoiding hard redundancies across the company’s Welsh sites, in particular in Port Talbot.

Last month Tata announced it would proceed with its plans to close its two blast furnaces at Port Talbot, to be replaced in the coming years with an electric arc furnace.

Tata’s plans to close the blast furnace are estimated to impact around 2,500 workers directly, as well as around 10,000 people across the region, within the supply chain and reliant businesses.

The Welsh Government has called for a fairer, more gradual transition to greener steel production, which does not result in imminent redundancies and continues to provide the good quality British steel needed to support many of the UK’s flagship green aspirations.

Vaughan Gething said: “Quality steel, made in Wales, is vital for the economy and security of the UK.

“We have consistently argued that there is a better deal for the industry and Tata workers that could and should be struck – securing a longer, fairer transition towards greener steel production.

“Our steel sector could and should have a strong future and stopping primary steel production now will only result in Welsh jobs and emissions being transported overseas.

“From wind turbines to cleaner cars, we know we will be using more steel, especially green steel, in the UK in the future, with significant opportunities for Port Talbot if Tata can get this transition right.

“While the window for securing this just transition may be narrow, as First Minister I promise to fight tooth and nail to protect these jobs. I will make the case firmly for keeping Welsh Tata jobs, which are vital to not only the region but the future of manufacturing in the UK.”

In a related development, members of the largest steelworkers’ union, Community, have voted in favor of industrial action in response to Tata Steel’s restructuring plans. The union reported that 85% of voting members supported the move, following the announcement of 2,800 job losses across the UK.

Alun Davies, National Officer for Steel at Community, said, “Today our members delivered their verdict on Tata Steel’s job cuts plan, and they have voted to demand a better deal for the workforce. More than 85% have voted for industrial action. This resounding mandate has been delivered despite the company’s attempts to intimidate workers by threatening to slash redundancy payments.”

Davies added, “We will now consult our members on the next steps and urge Tata to reconsider their position and return to negotiations to avoid a major industrial dispute.”

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