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Unions unveil plan to save thousands of jobs at Port Talbot

STEEL unions released their alternative plan for Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant yesterday, seeking to save thousands of jobs.

The Community and GMB unions claim that their plan for the company’s British arm is designed to secure a just transition for the workforce and to safeguard the future of steel-making at Port Talbot.

The multi-union plan was endorsed by Community, GMB and Unite and presented to Tata Steel on November 17 — but Unite decided to withdraw its support of the plan a day later.

The steel unions condemned the bad deal for steel announced by Tata and the British government on September 15, along with the potential loss of 3,000 jobs.

The unions rejected the company’s proposal to build a single electric arc furnace (EAF), claiming it would threaten jobs and be less green than the strategies adopted by competitors.

The two unions claim its plan would protect more than 2,300 jobs over a decade and would see no compulsory redundancies at Port Talbot.

Community’s general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “The multi-union plan can safeguard the future of Port Talbot steel-making and be delivered with no compulsory redundancies.

“It is a serious and credible plan developed with the support of the respected industry experts Syndex, who have had access to the company’s confidential information.”

GMB general secretary Gary Smith said: “Port Talbot workers deserve a decarbonisation plan that protects the future of British steel while safeguarding jobs.

“The multi-union plan offers a credible path to this future. It’s feasible, open to proper scrutiny and crucially avoids any non-compulsory redundancies.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite does not accept the need for one single job to be lost.

“We will not accept the boss’s plan or any plan that leads to job cuts, like the one from Syndex.”

Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething said a credible plan for decarbonisation “does not offshore Welsh jobs and emissions that will simply take place in a different part of the world.”

Local Labour MP Stephen Kinnock welcomed the union plan as the “only credible pathway to a strong, competitive and profitable future for steel-making in Port Talbot.”

More than 130 Port Talbot businesses, community groups, sports and social clubs have signed an open letter calling on the British government to save the steel industry.

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