Tata Steel: 'Utterly devastating' if 3,000 jobs lost in Port Talbot, says MP

  • Stephen Kinnock MP spoke with ITV as talks took place between unions and Tata Steel in London on Thursday (18 January).

The MP for Aberavon says “It would be utterly devastating" if thousands of jobs are lost from the Tata steelworks in his constituency.

Talks have been taking place today (Thursday 18 January) between the company and unions representing steelworkers about the future of the site.

There have been fears of heavy job losses, especially at the plant in Port Talbot, under moves to a greener form of steelmaking to cut emissions and stem financial losses.

Stephen Kinnock MP said: "The steelworks is the beating heart of the community and of the economy, not just in Port Talbot but right across south Wales, the rest of Wales indeed the United Kingdom.

“It is the lifeblood of so many of the different parts of our life, from the cars that we drive, the buildings that we work in, the trains that we travel on, and even the cutlery that we use to eat our meals with.

The UK Government has invested £500 million into the green-steel technology. Credit: Tata Steel

“So, it would be utterly devastating, there isn’t a single household in my Aberavon constituency that isn’t connected to the steelworks in some way.

“I would therefore urge Tata Steel to sit down and listen very carefully to what the multi-union are saying to them so that we can have a plan which, yes embraces change, but embraces change in a way that is sustainable for the future of our community and our economy.”

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Stephen Kinnock MP said: “I would urge Tata Steel to look very, very carefully at the multi-union plan which sets out a really clear pathway to a better, more profitable, more competitive future and a greener future for our steel industry and the Port Talbot steelworks.

“I am very concerned that the plan that Tata Steel, that the deal they have done with the UK government is a bad deal for steel, it is effectively hundreds of millions of pounds in order to make 3,000 steelworkers redundant.

"That is not good value for money at all. We need to have a plan which gives us a solid bridge to the future rather than a cliff edge and the multi-union plan is the plan that can deliver that.”

"If you look to the future, you need a future which is based on an electric arc furnace, blended with with primary iron and steel making capability.

Workers gathered outside Tata Steel’s Port Talbot steelworks in South Wales on 15 September, 2023. Credit: PA Images

“The multi-union plan delivers that blended model, whereas the Tata is based only on an arc furnace, if they only had electric arc capability, they won’t be able to deliver the full portfolio of products, they won’t be able to keep their customers satisfied and they won’t be able to embrace the opportunities of the future.

“So, whilst they may be saving some money in the short term, in the long term it would put a big question mark over the viability of the business.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We have a clear strategy to boost UK’s steel industry and create highly skilled jobs for the future right across the country.

"Nowhere is this more apparent than the recent Tata Steel announcement to transform steel making in South Wales, which is expected to save at least 5,000 jobs.

“We have provided £730 million in energy costs relief to the steel sector since 2013, in addition to support through the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. Industrial sectors, including steel, can also bid for Government funds worth hundreds of millions of pounds to support energy efficiency and decarbonisation.”

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