Britain’s largest union, Unite, warned of a ‘domino effect’ in the steel industry, as it renewed calls for the government to urgently step in to support steel as news emerged that steel firm Caparo Industries was going into administration, threatening over 1,700 jobs across the firm’s UK operations.
Described as a yet another ‘hammer blow’ to jobs and livelihoods, Unite vowed to do everything in its power to protect jobs and skills at Caparo Industries and the wider steel industry.
Approximately 80 per cent of Caparo’s workforce is based in the West Midlands. The news comes ahead of tomorrow’s (Tuesday 20 October) expected announcement by Tata about the future of its long products division and follows the closure of SSI in Redcar with the loss of 2,200 jobs.
Unite is calling on the government to support a key component of the UK economy by taking action to stop the ‘dumping’ of cheap Chinese steel, help with high energy costs and business rates and ensuring that major infrastructure projects use British steel.
Commenting, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Tony Burke said: “This is yet another hammer blow for steel and manufacturing communities across the UK already reeling from the closure of Redcar and job losses at Tata steel.
“Our members at Caparo Industries are highly skilled and work hard to produce world class products. We believe that the company has a future. Unite will be working with Caparo’s administrators and doing everything in our power to save jobs.
“Government ministers need to ask themselves. How many more steel firms need to go to the wall before they step in and support the UK’s steel industry?
“Failure to act urgently could lead to a ‘domino effect’ taking hold across the industry, leading to the loss of yet more skilled jobs as firms buckle under a combination of steel ‘dumping’ and high energy costs.
“The government’s ‘March of the Makers’ and ‘Northern Powerhouse’ will become meaningless rhetoric, if it fails to act swiftly and the livelihoods of thousands of people left in tatters.”
Besides the West Midlands, Unite’s membership at Caparo is centred at Wrexham and Hartlepool.
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.