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Unions said workers had made sacrifices and now the UK Government had to do its bit to help the steel industry

Unions say now Tata Steel workers have voted in favour of accepting pension reforms, it is time for the UK Government to do its bit.

Around 75 per cent of workers from each union - Community, Unite and GMB - voted to accept the deal, which includes a £1bn investment over 10 years, a two-blast furnace operation at Port Talbot and no compulsory redundancies for the next five years.

First Minister Carwyn Jones AM responded to the vote saying that the UK Government now needs to tackle high energy costs.

While I appreciate this has been a difficult decision for the trade unions and their members, today’s announcement is a significant step forward in securing a sustainable future for Tata’s UK business.

We continue to work closely with Tata to implement our significant financial support package in order to maintain steel jobs and production at all the Tata sites in Wales. We also repeat our calls for the UK Government to urgently tackle the UK’s high energy costs and continue to push for greater recognition of the steel industry in their new Industrial Strategy.

– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister

Following the result, Dave Hulse, National Officer for GMB called on the UK Government to make steel a high priority.

Now that steelworkers have done their bit, it is time for the government step up and do theirs. Thousands of skilled jobs rely on steelmaking and the industry supports the whole UK manufacturing sector. Instead of insulting steelworkers by classing their industry as a 'low priority', the government set out as strategy for steel that recognises it as a high priority for investment and innovation.

– Dave Hulse, National Officer for GMB

The Community union said that the tough decision made by workers showed their determination to safeguard jobs at the site.

Nobody wanted to be in this situation, but as we have always said, it is vital that we now work together to protect the benefits already accrued and prevent the BSPS from free-falling into the PPF.

This ballot involved an extremely personal decision for everyone that voted. Whichever way our members cast their votes, we know they will not have taken that decision lightly and everyone’s opinions must be respected.

We now expect Tata to make good on their promises and deliver the investment plan for the whole of their steel business. The UK Government still has an important role to play and we fully expect them to deliver tangible support for steelmaking in the UK.

– Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community
Credit: Ben Wright/PA Wire

Unite's representatives said the sacrifices workers have made must now be repaid by the UK Government and Tata Steel.

Steelworkers have made great sacrifices to ensure the UK’s world class steel industry has a future. Those sacrifices must be repaid by Tata Steel honouring its commitments on investment and job security. Nothing less would be a betrayal and add to the deep mistrust that steelworkers now have for the company.

The UK government in Westminster must also repay the sacrifices and the commitment shown by steelworkers to their industry by stepping up to support steel and secure its future. The UK government must now work in lockstep with the Welsh Government and put steel at the heart of a manufacturing industrial strategy which ensures UK steel is used in all major infrastructure and defence projects.

– Tony Brady, National Officer for Unite

Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock said that steel working was a way of life in Port Talbot and there were still challenges to overcome.

Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for the British steel industry. The industry still faces challenges that must be overcome, but what we have seen today is that the workforce will strain every sinew and make every sacrifice necessary to save our industry. It is about time that the government showed a similar commitment and took the necessary steps to help our industry move from surviving to thriving.

This is not just about a job or an industry, but about a way of life. The Port Talbot steelworks is the beating heart of our economy and community. We are truly forged together as a community by the steel industry, and so to lose the steelworks would have been truly unimaginable.

– Stephen Kinnock MP, Labour, Aberavon

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