Aberavon MP Hywel Francis says he's had cross-party backing from other MPs from steel-making areas to push for a meeting with the Prime Minister. It follows last week's news that Tata steel is to cut more than 500 jobs at its Welsh plants.
The cuts would mostly affect Tata's Port Talbot plant which is in Hywel Francis' constituency. He says he and other MPs will push for an urgent meeting with David Cameron.
– Hywel Francis MP
I was pleased the meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel
today agreed unanimously to call for an urgent meeting with the Prime
Minister to discuss problems facing the steel industry, particularly the high
energy costs it faces.
A meeting has already been agreed with the Welsh Secretary of State,
David Jones who has also agreed to visit the steelworks at Port Talbot. The
Secretary of State will meet with MPs representing steel constituencies across Wales.
Dr Kath Ringwald from the University of Glamorgan explains the reasons behind Tata's announcement that it would cut nearly 600 jobs in Wales.
"I don't think any company can give any assurances as to the future, but what I can say about Tata is that they're absolutely open in terms of working with us" said First Minister Carwyn Jones.
"What's important is they're keeping on track their investment plans for the industry in Wales, which will help to make the steel industry more competitive in the future, despite the very difficult news many families are facing now".
Plaid Cymru's spokesperson on the economy, Alun Ffred Jones has called on the Welsh Government to retrain redundant steel workers to get them back into employment. Mr Jones said there was no manufacturing strategy from the UK Government and said his thoughts were with the people losing their jobs.
This is very disappointing news for hundreds of Tata Steel workers and their families whose jobs are now threatened, having spent months awaiting news. Our thoughts are with them, especially only a few weeks before Christmas. These job losses should be voluntary wherever possible.
– Plaid Cymru Economy Spokesperson Alun Ffred Jones AM
The Welsh Government must work with the company to assist in the re-training of workers and help them find alternative employment as quickly as possible – as we did under the One Wales Government’s ProAct and ReAct schemes. The UK Government continues to fail industrial regions such as Wales. The Welsh Government should take on job-creating powers rather than pass the blame for the economic conditions.
Dr Jonathan Deacon, from the University of Wales, Newport, says the loss of jobs in Port Talbot and Llanwern will be especially damaging to the local economies.
"These are the high-quality, white collar worker posts. The management posts, the admin posts tend to be the higher-paid and tend to be also where the knowledge is in the organisation"
"To lose those jobs out of an area like Port Talbot - which is not especially blessed with the ability for those types of workers to find other employment - it's going to be really hard."
"The knock-on effect is going to be felt in the local communities because of the economic value that those jobs bring.... where those salaries are being spent - new cars, holidays etc."
Trading conditions "are as tough as I've ever seen in my thirty year career" says Tata Steel's Jon Ferriman.
"This is worse than 2008/9, and it's been sustained, which is what is really hurting us."
"The European economy is driving prices down, and the Chinese economy is driving raw materials up. We're getting squeezed in the middle".
Our Business Correspondent Carole Green is gathering the reaction in Port Talbot to the job losses at Tata's steelworks.
"It's devastating for the community because it's taking a lot of jobs and a lot of money away from the area" says local business owner Suzanne Hopkins.
"It's going to affect small businesses. A lot of our customers work at Tata Steel and it's going to affect everyone."
Overall, 584 jobs will be lost at Tata sites in Wales.
Tata says 500 jobs will go between the Port Talbot and Llanwern sites in the strip products division, with the bulk of the losses at Port Talbot.
- Crosskeys - 87 jobs lost at Colorsteels plant
- Tredegar Tafarnaubach Works - 76 jobs lost
- Caldicot distribution centre - 55 jobs lost
- Port Talbot - extensive 'restructuring' of jobs, although Blast Furnace No. 4 to reopen next year.
- Llanwern - 120 jobs created with reopening of strip mill, 65 created in new 'service centre'. 47 jobs lost at distribution centre. Jobs at risk at strip hub.
- Shotton - 38 jobs created
A spokesperson for Tata says the plans are necessary "to improve the competitiveness of its operations so they can successfully perform in changing markets".
Port Talbot's MP, Hywel Francis has highlighted what he calls the unfair energy costs and climate change policies faced by energy intensive industries like steel. Earlier he had said the 500 redundancies at Port Talbot were grim news.
– Hywel Francis, MP for Aberavon
The Government must do more to help energy intensive industries like steel with their costs – other European countries assist their industries far more. The Government should also address the high business rates faced by the steel industry, and place greater emphasis on infrastructure programmes as they do in France and Germany. I shall be working closely with management and unions locally and nationally and with all levels of Government to secure the long term future of steelmaking in Port Talbot.