18 Jan 2016

Steel jobs cut in South Wales

Tata Steel cuts 1,000 jobs in Port Talbot, Llanwern and other plants, as the government is accused of failing to support the crisis-hit industry.

Port Talbot, the biggest steel plant in Britain with 4,000 employees, will bear the brunt of the cuts, with 750 jobs lost there. There will also be cuts in Llanwern, Trostre, Hartlepool and Corby.

The cuts are on top of the thousands of jobs lost last year, with companies blaming high energy costs and cheap Chinese imports.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said the cuts were “another chapter of the UK’s ongoing steel crisis and the lack of a proper government response”.


He added: “This industry needs meaningful action from the UK government, which up to now has been characterised by fast talking but slow delivery, despite persistent warnings from Community that delays in implementing support for steel would have an impact on jobs.

“The dumping of cheap Chinese steel is one of the biggest causes of this crisis, yet the UK government remains a cheerleader for China and their bid for ‘market economy status’, which would decimate what’s left of our steel industry. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

Alan Coombs, a Port Talbot steelworker and president of Community, said: “Port Talbot is a town built on steel – my father and grandfathers worked here – but we risk losing these jobs forever without more action from government to create a level playing field on which we can compete.”

Many contractors and service firms rely on the Port Talbot plant, so direct job cuts will have a knock-on effect across the region.


Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “Our immediate focus will be on working with the Welsh Assembly to support workers in South Wales as well as other Tata UK sites to find new jobs as quickly as possible.

“The government has taken clear action to help the industry, through cutting energy costs, taking action on imports, Government procurement and EU emissions regulations, meeting key steel industry asks.”

Tata, Britain’s biggest steel maker, announced 1,200 job losses at its plants in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire in October.

This followed SSI mothballing its plant in Redcar, with the loss of 1,700 jobs, and going into liquidation, and Caparo, with plants across the UK but mainly in the West Midlands, calling in administrators.

Turnaround specialist Greybull Capital is in talks with Tata which could result in a deal that averts further job losses in Scunthorpe. An offer to buy Tata’s Lanarkshire plants is thought to have been tabled by Liberty Steel.

In December, MPs on the cross-party business select committee said in a report that the government could have done more to save jobs in Redcar.