More warm words and PR photo calls won’t cut it said Britain’s largest union, Unite ahead of today’s (Friday 1 April) visit to Port Talbot by the business secretary Sajid Javid.
Calling for Sajid Javid to look workers in the eye and promise concrete action, Unite Wales secretary Andy Richards said: "Steelworkers at Port Talbot and across Tata Steel will want to know just exactly what Sajid Javid intends to do to safeguard their industry, their livelihoods and their communities. So far all they have received is tea and sympathy from afar with no real concrete solutions for the industrial crisis facing the nation.
"We've been here before when the business secretary visited Redcar. Lots of noise and promises to deal with the symptoms of the steel crisis, rather than the causes as thousands of livelihoods went to wall because of government inaction.
"When he meets steelworkers, Sajid Javid needs to commit to ensuring British steel can compete on a level playing field by promising to drop his opposition to higher EU tariffs of cheap Chinese steel and honour the commitments to help with energy costs which were quietly watered down by George Osborne in his budget.
“But most of all he needs to signal his commitment to steel and manufacturing by promising to back British steel with a line of financial support to get it through these dark days. He needs to look workers in the eye, not just at Port Talbot, but at sites across Tata Steel from Shotton and Llanwern, to Rotherham and Corby and say ‘your government backs you’.
“A failure to do so will leave workers feeling his visit to Port Talbot is nothing more than an empty PR stunt and intensify the need for David Cameron to take personal control in securing a future for the UK steel industry."
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.