First Min­is­ter in talks as task force cre­ated

‘A ham­mer blow to area’

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Strat­ton Wil­liams

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

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Moth­balled The doomed Tata Cly­de­bridge plant at Cam­bus­lang

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