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Economy Minister Ken Skates seeking ‘urgent conversation’ with Tata Steel over number of potential job losses in Wales

Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates said he is seeking an “urgent conversation” with Tata Steel in the wake of Monday’s announcement that the steelmaker is to shed 3000 jobs across Europe.

Tata Steel outlined the proposals as part of a “transformation programme” and says the move is needed to “ensure the business can thrive despite severe market headwinds which have led to a sharp decline in profitability.”

Tata highlighted plans to urgently improve its financial performance to make sure the European business becomes “self-sustaining and cash positive.”

Mr Skates said the news that jobs will be lost is “deeply disappointing.”  

“I am seeking an urgent conversation with the company to establish precisely what this means for the business in Wales, the many thousands of people employed across its sites in Wales and how we can support those affected. ” Said the Minister. 

“During the implementation of these changes, we remain committed to working with the company and the trade unions to secure a long-term future for steel making in Wales.

We will do everything we can to support workers affected and our ReAct programme stands ready to provide assistance to workers across the Welsh Tata Steel sites, including coordinated support from local partners. ” Mr Skates said.

Tata employs around 5000 workers in Wales, 700 of those are based at the Tata Steel site in Shotton.

Of the 3000 job expected to be axed around two-thirds will be “office-based” roles.

According to Dutch media 1500 jobs will go in the Netherlands. 

It’s not known if any roles will be lost at Tata’s Steel plant in Shotton.

Henrik Adam, CEO of Tata Steel in Europe, said on Monday:

“Today we are highlighting important proposals towards building a financially strong and sustainable European business.

We plan to change how we work together to enable better cooperation and faster decision-making.

This will help us become self-sustaining and cash positive in the face of unprecedented severe market conditions, enabling us to lead the way towards a carbon-neutral future.”

The steel sector continues to face a huge range of challenges, both globally and domestically, including global overcapacity, rising carbon and raw material prices, slowing sales, increased imports, high energy prices in the UK and a downturn in key supply chain sectors such as automotive. 

Ken Skates said:

“It is important the UK Government plays its full role in supporting the steel industry, which is a vital strategic sector for the UK as a whole. 

We continue to raise with the UK Government the adverse impact of high energy prices on the steel sector and press it to urgently progress a sector deal or equivalent for the steel industry.   

I wrote to Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last month, asking her to convene a meeting of the UK Government, Welsh Government and the steel industry, along the lines of the UK Steel Council. 

I was pleased therefore when the Secretary of State agreed to convene a UK Steel Roundtable to take place on 24 October but disappointed and frustrated that the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.

Today’s announcement is further proof that the UK Government must treat the steel industry with the urgency it deserves and reconvene the meeting at the earliest opportunity.”

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