Government's failure to act results in a 'dark...

Government’s failure to act results in a ‘dark day’ for steel says Unite

20 October 2015

Today’s (Tuesday 20 October) confirmation that Tata Steel plans to cut 1,200 jobs in Scunthorpe and Scotland was a ‘dark day’ which would damage steel communities and hit supply chains hard, warned Britain’s largest union Unite.

Accusing the UK government of failing to heed the warning signs and washing its hands of the steel industry, the union said it would be working around the clock to find alternatives to save jobs and save steelmaking in the UK.

Today’s news sees steel production effectively come to an end in Scotland with the loss of approximately 300 jobs through the closure of the Dalzell plate mill and closure of the Tata Steel facility in Clydebridge. 

In Scunthorpe nearly 900 jobs are set to be lost with the closure of the plate mill and Dawes Lane coke ovens.
Warning that business secretary Sajid Javid was becoming increasingly isolated by his failure to support the steel industry, Unite once again called for urgent action from the UK government. 

Unite is calling on the government to support a key component of the UK economy by taking action to stop the ‘dumping’ of cheap Chinese steel, help with high energy costs and business rates and ensuring that major infrastructure projects use British steel.

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “This is a dark day for the UK steel industry, for the workers and the communities whose livelihoods depend on steel. We will be working closely with Tata to find alternatives and to save as many jobs as possible. 

“The knock on effects of today’s news combined with Caparo and the closure of Redcar through the supply chain will be devastating. Trade unions, the industry and business groups are all united on the need for the UK government to support the steel industry. 

“Sajid Javid is becoming increasingly isolated by his failure to act swiftly to support the steel industry. He and the UK government know what needs to be done and they need to do it quickly. A failure to act and tackle the dumping of cheap Chinese steel will spell the end of steel in the UK.”

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty added: “Today’s news effectively brings an end to a proud tradition of steelmaking in Scotland. The impact on the Scottish economy which is also being hammered by job losses in North Sea oil will be severe unless there is urgent support.

“We will be pressing the Scottish government to live up to its promise to do everything it can to support the steel industry in Scotland and save jobs. The UK government should take note of the Scottish government’s more proactive response and act to save our steel across the UK.” 


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.