'Everything's on the line' say Port Talbot steelworkers as they take Tata jobs fight to Westminster

Tata Steel's global CEO T.V. Narendran will appear before members of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee today.  Credit: PA Images

Steelworkers say "everything's on the line" as they head to Westminster to demonstrate over Tata's decision to cut jobs in south Wales.

The steel giant's global CEO T.V. Narendran and UK CEO Rajesh Nair will appear before members of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee today. 

The company announced almost two weeks ago plans to close both its blast furnaces at its Port Talbot site with the loss of around 2,500 jobs.

The move comes in a bid to reduce its UK CO2 emissions by “5 million tonnes per year”. Credit: PA

A further 300 posts will be cut elsewhere as the industry moves towards a greener way of making steel.

Mr Narendran told ITV Wales at the time that he is "100% committed to building an electric arc" in Port Talbot.

Starting "economic activity” in the area as soon as possible is a priority, according to the CEO, with the company already in discussions with "potential equipment suppliers."

He added: “If you spend a billion pounds on building something here, a lot of that money will float to the local economy."

Unions had offered an alternative plan, which meant keeping one blast furnace open until 2032, but Tata did not feel this was a viable alternative, saying "Apart from being more expensive, it had operational challenges."

Steel union representatives from the GMB, Community and Unite will be among the witnesses today.

Charlotte Brumpton-Childs, GMB National Officer told ITV Wales: “These steel workers have got everything on the line – their jobs, the security of their families, the whole future of their town. 

“They need to hear firsthand Tata bosses try and justify why their putting thousands of people out of work. 

“The UK has gone from a huge steel exporter 15 years ago, to now importing £2billion worth every year. Soon we won’t even be able to make primary steel in this country. 

“It’s a national disgrace.” 

  • ITV Wales' Dean Thomas Welch spoke to a steel worker in Port Talbot

Last night steelworkers and union members gathered in Port Talbot to discuss the industry's future.

Jason Wyatt, Unite representative and worker said: "Tonight we will be discussing the plans for tomorrow and how are we going to tackle the situation. We need answers from them and Unite has drawn a plan and we have shown them a legitimate way forward."

ITV Wales has asked Tata for a response.

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