Tata Steel set to split its Dutch and British steel operations in a move described as ‘worrying’ by the First Minister
Tata Steel is to split its Dutch and British steel operations in a move described by Wales first minister as ‘worrying’.
Tata is working towards the sale of Tata Steel Netherlands to Swedish Steelmaker SSAB.
The deal excludes Tata’s UK steel plants which it will retain meaning that Port Talbot will now be the only steel making plant left within Tata’s European business.
Tata has told Welsh government ministers today the company is determined to find a sustainable future for its UK operations and safeguard the 8,000 workforce which are mostly in Wales.
Tata’s employs around 700 workers in Shotton, the plant doesn’t make steel, it takes raw uncoated steel from Port Talbot manufactures into metallic coated and pre-finished products.
Wales first minister said the announcement was ‘worrying for workers and local communities across Wales.”
Mark Drakeford said “The steel industry has a strong future in Wales and the UK – we will do all we can to protect it.
UK government must also take immediate action to safeguard the sector and protect jobs.”
Unite the union is also calling for urgent action from the UK Government to support the UK steel industry.
Tony Brady Unite National Officer for steel said:
Today’s news effectively means that Tata’s European steel business will now be based solely in the UK.
With Brexit fast approaching it is essential that Tata’s UK steel business is able to continue trading effectively across the European Union.
This means that it is crucial that the UK comes to a trade agreement with the EU in the coming weeks.
The UK Government have told us that Brexit will be good for Britain and British jobs, they must deliver on that promise.
Alongside this there must be a determination from the UK Government to pull out all the stops to help ensure Tata’s British steel plants prosper into the future.
If the UK Government wants to retain steelmaking capacity in the UK it can no longer stand on the sidelines watching.
The UK steel sector needs a broad and long term strategic commitment from central Government which needs to include a considerable financial investment.
Our ability to manufacture and produce steel must be viewed as a core component of the UK’s industrial future.
The sector provides thousands of good jobs in communities across Wales and the UK. This is a pivotal moment, the time to act decisively to preserve these jobs for future generations is now.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said he has spoken to Tata who have told him they determined to find a “sustainable future” for operations in the UK.
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Today’s announcement will be extremely worrying for Tata Steel workers across Wales, their families, local communities and the supply chain, but we know the steel industry has a future in Wales and the UK.
The First Minister and I spoke with Tata today and they said they are determined to find a sustainable future for operations in the UK and to safeguard the 8,000 workforce, most of which are in Wales.
The First Minister is seeking urgent talks with the Prime Minister and I will speak to the Secretary of State for BEIS and the Secretary of State for Wales to call for urgent action.
The industry is now waiting for the UK Government to take immediate action to safeguard the sector and protect jobs. Every day they are not at the table is another day lost for workers and for an industry of strategic importance.
The Welsh Government has offered significant support to Tata over the years to make sure steel continues to have a future in Wales. We will do all we can to protect the future of the industry but we need the UK Government to act decisively and now do the same. It’s imperative that we retain an indigenous steel sector to meet the challenges of not being part of the EU.