POLITICAL ROW OVER STEEL PLANT
THE Welsh Government has been accused of being “asleep at the wheel” over the potential sale of the Trostre steel packaging plant in Llanelli.
The accusation is levelled at the Labour Welsh Government by Plaid Cymru.
Tata Steel could have to sell its Trostre plant if it merges with German steel giant ThyssenKrupp.
The sale could be forced by European competition rules – a potential problem highlighted in February.
Plaid Cymru waded into the row after Llanelli AM Lee Waters made press statements saying that he – and Labour colleague and Llanelli MP Nia Griffith – would be working to secure the future of the plant.
The Plaid Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, Helen Mary Jones, said: “I am deeply concerned at reports that Tata could sell its Trostre site in order to facilitate a merger with Thyssen-Krupp. Once again, workers in Wales are facing insecurity, and the Welsh Government seems to be sitting on its hands.
“We have raised concerns about this with the Welsh Government in the past precisely because this merger could lead to downgrading in Wales.
“I have tabled an emergency question to the Economy Minister (Ken Skates) on this and I expect him to take swift action.”
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, added: “The Welsh Government’s inaction is putting the livelihoods of thousands of workers at Trostre at risk.
“Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price asked the then-First Minister [Carwyn Jones] in November 2018 if the Welsh Government intended ‘to respond to the European Commission inquiry into the merger of ThyssenKrupp and Tata, which could mean the sale of the site’.
“Carwyn Jones failed to respond to the question.
“In fact, in February 2017, when the now-deputy minister for the Economy and Transport, Lee Waters, expressed his own concerns about the future sustainability of the Trostre site, the Economy Minister Ken Skates said, ‘What is essential is that we give the steel sector across Wales the best possible chance of being as competitive as possible.’
“It is time now for the Welsh Government to wake up and intervene.”
Tata steelworks in Llanelli.
Plaid AM for Mid and West Wales, Helen Mary Jones, and Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM.