Cameron pressured on steel job cuts ahead of G20
3,000 cuts announced, 1,000 under threat
LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron came under pressure from trade unions and the Labor opposition this week over thousands of job cuts in the steel sector, ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit in Turkey.
Around 3,000 job cuts have been announced in the British steel industry since September and 1,000 more are under serious threat, with manufacturers blaming high energy costs and cheap Chinese imports.
“The official opposition has had to drag the government kicking and screaming... time after time to get them to stand up for British steelmaking” in parliament, said Angela Eagle, Labour’s business spokeswoman.
“When is the business secretary going to get a grip, stop hiding behind the EU and do more to tackle the root causes of this crisis?” The British steel industry employs some 30,000 people.
The trade unions have also voiced anger following a European Union ministers’ meeting in Brussels tomorrow to tackle the challenges faced by European steelmakers. “Council ministers and the (European) Commission have clearly failed to grasp the urgency of the current situation faced by the steel industry,” said Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Britain’s Community union.
“The summit also failed to give a proper view on the impact of China gaining market economy status, which will pose an existential threat to the European steel industry,” he said.
The ministers agreed only that they would intensify discussions with major foreign steel producers including Belarus, China, India, Russia and Turkey. The European Union as a whole is the second biggest steel producer in the world after China, with more than 177 million tons produced per year-or 11 percent of global production, EU data shows. Some 40,000 jobs have been cut across Europe in the steel sector in recent years. — AFP