Britain’s largest union, Unite today (Thursday 24 March) welcomed the news that metals firm Liberty House has signed a deal to buy the Clydebridge and Dalzell steel works from Tata Steel and urged UK minsters to look at Scotland’s interventionist approach to secure the British steel industry’s future.
The ‘back to back’ agreement, which involves the Scottish Government buying the two mothballed plants and immediately selling them to Liberty, comes ahead of a crunch meeting of Tata’s board in Mumbai next Thursday (31 March).
It is understood the Tata Group board will be discussing the future of its Port Talbot plant in Wales and a ‘survival plan’ announced in January which involves over 720 job losses at the site.
Pointing to the Scottish Government’s active role in securing the future of the Lanarkshire plants, Unite called on the UK government to take a more interventionist approach to save the British steel industry, including temporary public ownership should plants close.
Commenting Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “This welcome news is testament to the hard work of the Scottish Government’s steel taskforce and hopefully signals a new era of steelmaking in Scotland.
“Steelmaking at Dalzell and Clydebridge is a foundation industry that has long been at the heart of the Scottish economy and manufacturing. It has long been a source of secure work, not only providing decent jobs in Lanarkshire, but right through the supply chain.
“We hope that the new owners will restore pride in our steel industry and ensure it goes from strength to strength over the coming months and years.”
Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “The news of this sale is welcome and demonstrates what can be achieved when a government strategically intervenes to support key foundation industries.
“With the future of Tata’s Port Talbot plant under discussion and the wider industry fighting for survival, UK ministers should take note and not shy away from taking a more interventionist approach to secure the British steel industry’s future.”
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.