STEELWORKERS desperate to save their industry from collapse rallied in Westminster yesterday, warning that factories would be “lost forever” unless MPs put together a rescue package.
A “Save our Steel: Save our Town” banner was unfurled outside Parliament by workers from plants across the country, who are represented by unions Community, Unite, GMB and Ucatt.
Workers then met with MPs before a parliamentary debate on the steel industry, urging them to throw it a lifeline after a stark warning from the International Steel Trade Association that thousands more steel jobs were at risk.
Tata Steel and SSI have announced thousands of job losses in Redcar, Scunthorpe and across Scotland in recent weeks, blaming high energy costs and cheap imports that undercut British-made steel.
Unite trade union convener for Tata Steel Martin Foster said his union was determined to “get the pressure piled on MPs” to give the industry urgent help.
Community health and safety rep Andy Trigg, from Tata in Corby, called for lower energy costs and import tariffs to make domestic steel production more competitive.
“We’re looking for help with energy costs as Britain has the highest energy costs in the world. The government needs to bring this in sharpish while we still have an industry left,” said Mr Trigg.
He said that import tariffs were needed because the cost of green “carbon capture” schemes made European steel more expensive than that produced elsewhere.
“We’re not like any other industry,” added Mr Trigg. “We can’t just turn off a blast furnace and then turn it on again.
“We must safeguard the jobs and the infrastructure so we can bring it back to life again.”