Following the meeting today (Thursday) at Tata’s Port Talbot steel works between business secretary Sajid Javid and union representatives, Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary, said: "Today was an opportunity for our representatives to impress upon the business secretary the importance of Port Talbot not just to the Welsh economy but to manufacturing across the UK.
“Mr Javid saw first-hand the scale of this site and could witness this dedicated workforce doing what they do best, which is delivering for British manufacturing.
“We underlined again the need to keep this business together because that is the only way to sustain the UK as a manufacturing nation, and the need to proceed to sale in a timely fashion – there must be no panic-driven fire sales.
“The secretary of state will have left Port Talbot today in no doubt whatsoever that this steelworks is a national asset and that this is a community that deserves a future.
“But all we know for sure is that Tata wants to sell, and that they have committed to proceed as a responsible seller. We now need to hear more about the next steps and what the government will do to retain UK steel manufacturing.
“This is an agonising time for these workers and their communities so we look forward to a fuller programme for the next steps from the government.
“Further, as we have said previously, we are extremely concerned that the uncertainty swirling around Tata’s UK operations will have wider ramifications, particularly in the supply chain, where Unite has thousands of members, so help to avert trouble there is also an issue we are keen to pursue with the government.”
Unite has nearly half a million members working in manufacturing industries across the UK. Unite is calling on the UK government to intervene to stabilise and secure the UK steel industry through a series of measures.
These include government investment to help the sector through these tough times and the UK government dropping opposition to European Commission proposals to place higher tariffs on cheap Chinese steel.
The union also wants ministers to take swift action on energy costs so that UK steelworkers can compete on a level playing field with their European counterparts, and to compel British steel to be used in British infrastructure and defence projects.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 or Pauline Doyle on 07976 832 861.
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.