UK Steelworkers Ask for Govt Support
Kolkata: A meeting of steelworkers across UK in London on Monday has made three new demands of government to secure UK steel industry. One hundred steelworkers from across the UK gathered at the Trade Union Congress House to decide on a plan following Tata Steel’s decision to divest its UK assets last week. The demands include an appeal to the government to take immediate action to guarantee the production of Tata's UK steel operations to ensure the customer base is retained even after Tata Steel’s announcement. The meeting also agreed that allowing Tata or any other investors to cherry-pick assets will put the UK steel industry at risk.
A statement issued by the unions said the plants are viable but they require investment. "This means the business needs the investment originally planned by Tata – understood to be £1.5billion over 10 years. This level of investment should be achievable gi- ven that any buyer would be gaining control of assets worth £4 billion. But the government support is needed during the 2-3 years it will take to get back to self-sustainability." The unions suggested the government support in 'green investment' – in a new power plant, the coke ovens and the blast furnace to make Port Talbot a world-class example of low-carbon, blast furnace steel making. R&D investment – to enable the business to develop high value products that can secure new mar- kets and sustain the business. Another area in which it sought government support was in skills investment – to support a transition to high-value, low carbon steel production.
The steel unions have engaged expert steel industry advisors Syndex UK to help with future plans.
Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of community, said: "There needs to be a step-change in the level of govt involvement with Tata, its customers and the unions and this is why we have set out our three demands."