First Minister in talks as task force created
‘A hammer blow to area’
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will visit Clydebridge on Thursday for talks with employees, unions and management.
The news comes after it was announced that the Scottish Government has established a task force to seek a viable alternative to the potential mothballing of Tata Steel operations in Scotland.
The task force will be chaired by Business Minister Fergus Ewing and will include representatives from Tata Steel, trade unions, North Lanarkshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Government agencies and local politicians.
The task force will meet for the first time next Thursday.
The First Minister said:“This is a very anxious time for Tata Steel employees and their families and is deeply concerning for everyone involved.
“My government is determined to fight for a future for our steel industry and to work to keep the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants open.”
Margaret Ferrier, MP for Rutherglen and Cambuslang spoke with Tata Steel, and met with John Paul McHugh from Community Trade Union yesterday to discuss the crisis.
Speaking later in the chamber of the Houses of Parliament, Ms Ferrier said: “It is with a sad heart that I have to stand here today and talk about possible closures in my constituency at Clydebridge works .
“My thoughts are with all steel workers throughout the UK, but what we must do is everything we can for the workers.
“There’s never a good time for job losses, but especially so close to Christmas.
“I welcome the action by the Scottish Government to set up a Scottish steel task force, but what we need from the UK Government is what they’re going to do,” she said.
Labour MSP for Rutherglen and Cambuslang, James Kelly, said: “The announcement by Tata of the mothballing of the Clydebridge Steel plant has come as a hammer blow to the local area.
“Our immediate thoughts are with the workers and their families and the uncertainty that this announcement creates.
“What is needed now is action not words. I have written to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asking for action on a number of fronts.”
Mr Kelly believes intervention is needed from the UK and Scottish Governments to secure the plants’ future.
UK Government Business Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons there was “no straightforward solution to the complex global challenges facing the steel industry”. But he added the government had “no intention of standing by”.
“We are taking steps to ensure there is a future for the UK’s steel industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative candidate in the upcoming Scottish Parliament election, Taylor Muir said: “It’s a very concerning time for employees and their families.
“While the government can’t control the price of steel, I am pleased the Prime Minister will be focusing on the difficulties for the steel industry during the Chinese state visit this week.
“I would urge both of Scotland’s Governments to do whatever they can to support the industry in both the short and long term to protect jobs here in our local community.”
Media scrum Television reporters, print journalists and photographers try to get the story from workers leaving the Tata plant at Cambuslang
Mothballed The doomed Tata Clydebridge plant at Cambuslang