UPDATED : Talks On Investment & Jobs Begin At Port Talbot

The UK steel industry stands on the precipice after Tata Steel announced plans earlier this year to close the blast furnaces at the Port Talbot steel works in July and September 2024, ceasing iron production and decimating what remains of one of the key areas of the UK’s industrial base.
At a time of rising global tensions and fears over security, Unite has said it will not stand by and watch the destruction of another key component of our critical national manufacturing infrastructure, while at the same time increasing our reliance on steel imports.
Unite says that in the coming years there will be a tenfold increase in demand for ‘green’ steel – steel manufactured using electric furnaces.
Unite has produced detailed plans which would result in the creation of jobs and make the UK the European capital of a profitable green steel industry. If adopted this plan would secure this critical industry for generations to come and reduce the UK’s over reliance on imports in what has become an uncertain world. You can’t deliver growth without steel.
The Tata announcement to end virgin steel production at Port Talbot with ‘blast furnace five’ closing this month and ‘blast furnace four’ closing in September, will result In a loss of 2,800 hihhly skilled and well paid employment.
Unite’s says that during discussions with the Labour Party the union had secured a commitment that an the expected Labour government would provide £2.5 billion extra investment for UK steel.
Unite and other steel making unions (GMB and Community) asked Tata to wait until the change of government before making any final decision on the future of its blast furnaces and steel production.
Tata has refused to do this and on 31st May it wrote to its employees stating: “Neither the general election nor its outcome has any impact on the timings or our decision to proceed with the winding down of our heavy-end operations (blast furnaces).”
Given Tata’s stance Unite says it had no option but to exercise its mandate for industrial action and begin an overtime ban and announce strike action for next month. When announcing strike action Unite made it clear to Tata that we would ensure that all safety procedures would be met.
Unite says it has repeatedly requested that the company commit to not making any final decisions about the future of the blast furnaces until after the election when meaningful negotiations can be held. The only negotiations Tata want to have is to sell the jobs via redundancy packages. This is not acceptable.
Instead of waiting for a predicted change of Government, Tata has decided to double down, making continued threats to try and stop industrial action on “trumped up technicalities”. If they are successful, Unite says it will re-ballot for industrial action and will continue to do everything in its power to save jobs and fight to stop the destruction of this part of of the UKs critical infrastructure.
Unite has demanded that it waits wait until we have a change of government this week and not make any irreversible decisions and for Tata to enter into meaningful negotiations. Unite says this is the only demand it is making at this point.
Unite says it then can meet with government, other unions and Tata, to negotiate investment in jobs rather than abandoning the steel workers in Wales.

Update: On Sunday afternoon Tata Steel wrote to the steel unions offering to meet unions for fresh talks on the condition strike action in South Wales is called off.

Talks Begin: Talks have now began on investment and jobs and Tata is believed to have offered to discuss future investment in Port Talbot in exchange for unions suspending  future industrial action.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “There is along way to go. They suspend closure, we suspend action.”

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