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William and Kate hear about fears for the future of steelmaking in South Wales

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge inspect operations with works manager Carl Banfield at the control centre. Credit: PA

Prince William and Kate have asked steel workers in South Wales about their fears for the future after their company recently announced another round of job losses.

They were at the giant steelworks in Port Talbot where they watched the steel roll down the hot strip mill at 1200C (2192F) before it was coiled up and thinned to make car body parts.

The steel works in Port Talbot dominate the skyline of this South Wales town where the workers worry about the latest round of redundancies announced shortly before Christmas.

The company – owned by the giant Indian conglomerate Tata – wants to make £150 million savings in staff costs across Europe.

That is thought to equal about 1,000 job losses in the UK – half of which could fall on the Port Talbot plant.

Prince William asked some of the young apprentices at the plant how they were feeling about the future and whether Tata had done enough to, as he put it, “allay the fears” about their jobs.

William and Kate heard concerns from workers in South Wales. Credit: PA

They told him how they will “keep turning up to work until they’re told not to come any more”.

Prince William also spoke to them about their mental health and well-being.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walked into the giant hanger in Port Talbot, which is nearly a mile long, as part of a day of engagements in the area.

Tata, which bought the steelmaker Corus in 2007, currently employs 4,000 people in Port Talbot.

When Prince William’s grandmother, the Queen, came to this site in 1970, British Steel employed about 20,000 here.

But the company is facing a challenging market place.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge go through a turnstile during the visit. Credit: PA

Despite making the steel for the aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, and for the new stand at Anfield, Tata is struggling to compete against the influx of Chinese steel on the world market.

In the last two years, China has produced more steel than the UK has ever produced since steel production began some 150 years ago.

Kate met the Tobin family, who now have had four generations work at the steel plant.

Joseph and his father, Shaun currently work there.

Joseph’s grandfather and great-grandfather were also employed at the site.

The company says it is still consulting staff on its plan for jobs in the future.