Speaking at the Unite /Community union UK Steel Emergency demonstration at parliament today, Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said:

“We stand on the very precipice for Britain’s steel industry. It’s time our politicians stepped up to the plate and took action to save our most vital of industries; how can it be that Belgium produces more steel than Britain. There has been criminal negligence in flogging off the industry in a privatisation that has proved calamitous; a private equity scam that didn’t work.

“Of course steel is a foundation industry - over 25 per cent of Britain’s GDP is delivered by industries dependent on steel. Are we now going to stand by and watch it collapse? Of course that would be a catastrophe for British manufacturing and looming jobs losses of 40,000 in the industry and more in related industries and supply chains.  But steel is also fundamental to the security of our country. What are we going to do if steel goes bust - import it from China ?

“I could suggest 100 things that need to be done, but there is one no-brainer. I’ll mention it now. Every British major infrastructure project should be legally committed to using British steel on their projects. Unite research suggests if that one thing was done today it would guarantee an increase in steel production worth £8bn and create 3000 jobs. A no brainer. British Steel made by British workers for British infrastructure projects.

“There is a green revolution beckoning in steel where blast furnaces must be replaced by electric arc furnaces to decarbonise production. Britain could be a world leader in that transformation. The demands of the greening of steel present enormous future opportunities but are our politicians capable of stepping up to the plate?”


Notes to editors

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.