The country’s largest manufacturing union, Unite, called on government ministers to adopt today’s (Monday 23 January) special report published by the all-party parliamentary group on Steel and Metal Related Industries.
Published on the same day as the government outlines its industrial strategy, the ‘Steel 2020’ report, containing 42 recommendations, lays out a blueprint for the UK’s crisis hit steel industry drawing on evidence submitted by the industry, unions and the workforce, trade bodies, politicians and local authorities.
The report calls on the government to take the steps which Unite and the steel unions have been calling for over the past 12 months, which include:
- Access to the single market and a strong trade deal with the EU
- Fair trade on the global steel market by taking strong defence measures against cheap Chinese imports
- Ensuring big infrastructure projects use 100% UK made steel
- Support for the steel supply chain, re-skilling and a National Investment Bank
- A national industrial strategy which includes worker representation on boards
- Support for mothballed plants to save jobs and skills and help with business rates
Commenting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The cross party group of MPs has taken on board the key points Unite and the steel unions have been arguing for and laid down the gauntlet for government ministers.
“Steel is a key foundation industry sustaining tens of thousands of jobs and manufacturing communities across the UK. It should be the beating heart of any manufacturing industrial strategy and a source for decent jobs for generations to come.
“It was with bitter disappointment and a sense of betrayal that steelworkers learned of the decision to import steel for HS2. We cannot have a repeat of British steel being overlooked for major defence and infrastructure projects, or the dumping of cheap Chinese steel which left the industry teetering over a precipice. Not only is it a real blow to workers fighting for their jobs, but it’s not very strategic industrially.
“With the uncertainty of Brexit compounding months of turmoil for steel workers and their families, ministers need to adopt the key recommendations of this report to ensure the steel industry has a strong sustainable future and goes from strength to strength.”
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.