Steelworkers to march through Port Talbot to show support for the town's industry

Union members are urging the company to reconsider its plans to move Port Talbot to an electric arc furnace-only site. Credit: PA

Steelworkers will stage a march through Port Talbot on Saturday in a show of support for the industry in the town.

The event, organised by the steelworkers’ union Community, follows fears of thousands of job losses under plans by owners Tata to produce “green” steel through huge investment in the plant.

Union members are urging the company to reconsider its plans to move Port Talbot to an electric arc furnace-only site, and to look at alternative ways of decarbonising the works in a way that protects jobs.

Local sports clubs, like Afan United FC, have shown their support for the town's industry. Credit: Afan United FC

Afan United FC said local sport clubs are set to meet at Aberavon Pier on Saturday to support steelworkers.

Community national officer Alun Davies said: “Steel has been the lifeblood of Port Talbot for over 120 years, and nearly everyone in the town and the surrounding areas will know someone with a connection to the works.

The union said Saturday's march will be a chance for the community in Port Talbot to make its voice heard. Credit: PA

“Community’s march on Saturday is an opportunity for the community in Port Talbot and beyond to come together in support of our steel industry.

“Steelworkers know just how vital decarbonisation is to the future of the sector, and that the steel they produce can play a vital role in helping the country go green.

“But the plans Tata have laid out are just decarbonisation on the cheap. Under their proposals, carbon emissions would be offshored to heavy-polluting countries which Britain would become reliant upon for virgin steel – steel which we should be producing here and is vital to our economy and security.

Earlier this month, an expected announcement on job losses at Tata Steel's Port Talbot plant has been delayed. Credit: PA

“This bad deal for steel would see thousands of dedicated, skilled, and passionate steelworkers thrown on the scrap heap; with UK taxpayer money being spent to support jobs around the globe, at the expense of jobs here.

“It doesn’t have to be this way, and there’s a just transition for steel that’s available if Tata are prepared to show ambition and give our steel workforce the vote of confidence they deserve. The company need to pause and listen to the alternative proposals which our experts at Syndex will be publishing shortly.

“In the meantime, the community in Port Talbot will make its voice heard this Saturday. It’s time to save our steel, and give our industry its future back before it is too late.”

The UK Government has previously told ITV News that it has "a plan for steel and without our backing there was a risk of closing Port Talbot altogether".

It added: "With this announced joint investment we will be safeguarding around 5,000 jobs, proving the doubters wrong and building a more sustainable future for the industry.

"While it's ultimately for Tata Steel to manage commercial decisions for the company's future, the UK Government is supporting staff affected by the transition and engaging with the Welsh government through a dedicated Transition Board to help affected employees and the local economy."

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