Britain’s largest union Unite welcomed today’s (Thursday 21 April) announcement by the UK and Welsh governments to provide a support package worth hundreds of millions of pounds to potential buyers of Tata Steel UK and the pledge to take a minority stake of 25 per cent in a new venture, if needed.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “This is positive news for the Tata Steel workforce and starts to gives them, their families and communities the assurance that serious effort is being made to secure a new owner as the unions have demanded.
“In pledging to take a stake, government ministers have responded to the calls of the steel unions, politicians, industry and the public alike, who all recognise that we need a successful steel industry or we will cease to be a manufacturing power house.
“We hope that today’s commitment will reassure Tata Steel’s customers and the hundreds of businesses in the supply chain and convince them to hold their nerve and keep their faith in a world class workforce.
“Today’s announcement though is only part of the solution. The task now is to secure a buyer who is committed to purchasing the whole of Tata Steel UK and securing the long term future of steelmaking in the UK. Our members will also need strong commitments during the sales process about their pensions and assurances that none of them will suffer an adverse impact.
“The UK government still has a lot to do too in ensuring that steelmaking can thrive and that British steelworkers can compete with their global competitors on an even playing field.
“This means going further on procurement for defence and infrastructure projects by compelling the use of British steel, as well as going further in tackling the dumping of cheap imports and high energy costs.”
Unite has nearly half a million members working in manufacturing industries across the UK. Unite had called on the UK government to intervene to stabilise and secure the UK steel industry through a series of measures.
These included ministers throwing UK steel a financial lifeline and backing investment to get it through these tough times and creating an even playing field by dropping opposition to European Commission proposals to slap higher tariffs on cheap Chinese steel.
Unite also wants ministers to taking swift action on sky high energy costs so that UK steelworkers can compete on a level playing field with their European counterparts, as well as compelling British steel to be used in British infrastructure such as HS2 and defence projects.
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.