TUC 2012: Over the past few years, Community led the long fight to save our steel on Teesside.
Thankfully, the campaign bore fruit earlier this year as Thai steel company SSI relit the Redcar blast furnace.
But while we were looking forward to Teesside steel's rebirth yet another devastating blow was dealt to steelworkers.
At the end of January Thamesteel at Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent was put into administration.
Of the 400-strong workforce 350 were made redundant as soon as the administrators were brought in, forced to leave without being paid their January wages.
At a time when we must all mount a vigorous campaign in defence of the existing rights of working people, this fundamental injustice shows how much further we must go.
It is an outrage that a group of workers can be left without a wage, behind the banks, the government and the parent company in the creditors' queue and with only limited redress from the law and the state.
Many of our members, deprived of their final weeks' wages, were forced to rely on food banks to subsist.
And thanks to the recession made in Downing Street all too many of those workers are still in the same position.
With the support of thousands in the local community we called for government action to bring in new owners and restart Sheerness steelmaking.
But we are faced by a government with no effective industrial strategy, no desire to invest in infrastructure or growth and a belief that supply-side tinkering and attacking people's employment rights is the best way to "rebalance" the economy. The coalition plays politics over crucial policy areas such as environment, energy and infrastructure while energy-intensive industries such as steel see missed opportunities to play an integral role in a low-carbon economy.
Manufacturing continues to decline while the bankers get on with business as usual.
The loss of a steel plant is not just about devastating job losses and damage to a community.
It's also about the crumbling of another foundation block of our industrial infrastructure, weakening our manufacturing base, creating the need for more steel imports and reducing the incentive to maintain downstream manufacturing in Britain.
Politicians on all sides must do much more. It's all very well pontificating from the safety of Whitehall about rebalancing the economy.
What the blue and yellow Tories don't see is the reality of the daily struggle for those manufacturing workers whose factories and plants disappear.
In Sheerness, while many of our members continue to depend on the local food bank, the previous owners have taken the company back out of administration. Though this is perverse and there is a great deal of trust and confidence to be rebuilt we have not taken our eye off the ultimate goal of restarting Sheerness steelmaking and bringing jobs to Sheppey.
We are prepared to work with the owners to find a future for the plant - sadly they are yet to acknowledge our offer of help.
Our struggle continues to save our steel.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.