Community Union and Port Talbot Magnet have partnered up to promote the Save Our Steel campaign in Port Talbot. The campaign aims to show solidarity with steelworkers at threat of losing their job, and fight for government support in the current industry crisis.
“We are proud to partner with Community Union in support of steelworkers,” said Magnet editor Rachel Howells. “We hope our readers will show their support for local steelmaking by displaying the poster that’s inside every copy of the Magnet. Steel is in our town’s blood, and we stand ready to fight for its future.”
A Community Union spokesman said: “For the past year, Community has led the ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign in steel communities across the UK. In the face of the biggest steel crisis in a generation, we have been mobilising steelworkers to fight for real government support in the face of an unfair global market.
“The recent announcement of the job losses at Port Talbot is no reflection of the skills and commitment of the Tata Steel workforce, which has been breaking production records over the past year. Rather, it is yet another chapter of the UK’s ongoing steel crisis and the lack of a proper government response.”
He said the industry needs “meaningful action” from the UK Government, which, up to now “has been characterised by fast talking but slow delivery, despite persistent warnings from Community that delays in implementing support for steel would have an impact on jobs”.
He said promised compensation for energy intensive industries has yet to materialise.
“The UK Government must step up and work with trade unions and businesses to ensure this industry exists for generations to come. The dumping of cheap Chinese steel is one of the biggest causes of this crisis, yet the UK Government remains a cheerleader for China and their bid for ‘market economy status’, which would decimate what’s left of our steel industry. This cannot be allowed to happen.”
However, Community is also asking for assurances from Tata Steel.
“It is absolutely vital that Tata Steel make clear their long-term commitment to steel making in the UK. The workforce has made significant sacrifices in recent years, on the assurance that jobs would be protected. However, rather than delivering on this promise, Tata have simply continued to slash jobs. Tata Steel must now come clean about their long term commitment to the UK.”
Alan Coombs, Community union rep and chair of the multi-union committee at the Port Talbot steelworks said: “The recent announcement of yet more job cuts is a tragic reminder of the UK’s ongoing steel crisis. Here in Port Talbot we make some of the world’s best steel, but cheap Chinese imports and high energy costs are crippling our industry.
“Job cuts will affect everyone here – steelworkers, engineers and office staff. As the steelworkers’ union, Community is ready to work with Tata Steel to ensure that steel making remains at the heart of Port Talbot for many years to come. However, we will not accept anything that threatens the health and safety of workers or the integrity of the plant.
“Port Talbot is a town built on steel. My father and grandfathers worked here. But we risk losing these jobs forever without more action from government to create a level-playing field on which we can compete. Thousands of other families here in Port Talbot rely on the steelworks, it is a source of pride and employment for our town. We simply cannot afford to lose it.”