Unions call on government to use UK steel on Covid-19 recovery infrastructure projects
- Thursday 9 July 2020
Britain’s three steel unions, Unite, GMB and Community, today (Thursday 9 July) launched a joint campaign for the future of the steel industry in the UK.
Through the ‘Britain, We Need Our Steel’ campaign, the unions are calling for the infrastructure and investment programme announced by Boris Johnson to aid the country’s economic recovery from coronavirus to use steel produced in Britain to support the industry.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The UK steel industry is central to any post Covid-19 recovery and rebuild strategy – supporting new infrastructure build from hospitals and schools to rail and energy generation.
“It is ready to provide the steel to renew our naval fleet and transition our auto industry to electric vehicles. UK steel is playing its part in global efforts to green our economy, capturing its emissions and investing in shared technologies to protect the long-term security of our planet.
“Today we come together as an industry with one voice to celebrate its contribution to supporting the UK economy as well as thousands of jobs and communities across our regions. Please join us by supporting our campaign to see UK steel and our wider manufacturing sector centre stage in an industrial strategy to build back better.”
Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “If the government’s plans to build, build, build are to successfully revive our economy and secure jobs in the UK then they must use Britain’s steel.
“With so much at stake as we begin to look beyond this crisis, it’s important that as a country we get this right. Our message is simple ‘Britain, we need our steel’. That means taking every opportunity to use British products, made by businesses in Britain, and the workers on our shores.
“Government and employers must work together to create a plan that both uses Britain’s steel and invests in our industry and our people. If they do it is not just our steelworkers and steel communities that will reap the rewards but the entire country.
“Our world class steelworkers have already been doing their bit to get our country through the worst of this crisis, going to work to produce the steel our NHS needs for hospital beds and the packaging to ensure our shelves continue to be stocked with food. They are ready to serve again, to produce the millions of tonnes of steel we will need to recover from this crisis.”
Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer for Steel, said: “The UK steel trade unions have welcomed the Job Retention Scheme support from the government that secured steel businesses and employees, also the subsequent stimulus support to drive the next phase of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As we move beyond Covid-19 and with real concern over a looming Brexit crisis, GMB, along with our sister steel trade unions, are calling on the UK government to ensure the highest priority is given to our steel industry as a key driver in making a significant contribution to the UK’s economic recovery.”
“Steel is a foundation industry that serves and supplies so many other key industries including infrastructure projects, automotive, engineering and construction, the renewables industry and shipbuilding to name some.
“Ensuring a UK steel content to these industries combined with a UK integrated manufacturing strategy will bring real prosperity to steel and other manufacturing communities and start the rebuilding process of our UK economy.”
UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) managing director, Simon Hamilton, said: “With steel at the heart of what makes this country great, UKSE wholeheartedly support this important campaign. Britain, we need our steel!”
For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.
Email: [email protected]
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.