Posted: Wed 28th Feb 2024

Gwent Council Passes Motion of Support for Steelworkers Facing Job Losses

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

Additional reporting: Yashaswi Kochar 
A GWENT council has passed a motion of support for thousands of steelworkers who face losing their jobs at Port Talbot and elsewhere. 
Across the UK steel firm Tata has said 2,423 jobs are at risk, with 1,929 of those in Port Talbot, which employs 3,859 people. 
Torfaen Borough Council, which is around 40 miles east of Port Talbot, agreed a statement expressing its support for the workforce and their families “in their campaign to secure a more positive future”. 
The motion, which doesn’t commit the council to taking any action, also states it supports the plan put forward by trade unions as an alternative to Tata’s proposals to replace existing, and heavily polluting, blast furnaces at the site with greener electric arc furnaces, which have been backed with  £500 million from the UK Government.
It urges “Tata Steel and the Welsh and UK Governments to work together to fully explore” alternatives. 
Torfaen’s motion recognised the need for decarbonisation, but questioned the environmental logic of ceasing virgin steel production in the UK and instead importing from other nations. 
It also questions the national security implications of lacking domestic steel making capacity in “an increasingly uncertain world” 
It added: “We recognise the cost of subsidising production but also note the social and economic cost of the loss of good quality jobs on such a scale.” 
The council’s Labour leader, Anthony Hunt, who put the motion forward told councillors: “This is a call for the best deal for workers, the best deal for families, the best deal for the wider economy and not the cheapest deal. The impact of it is not just in Port Talbot but in many manufacturing businesses across Wales and beyond.” 
The motion recognised the impact of Tata’s decision not only on those directly employed at Port Talbot but also on the supply chain and in related manufacturing operations across South Wales including Llanwern steelworks, where it said “many local residents have worked”. 
No councillors voted against the motion at the full council’s February 27 meeting at the Civic Centre, in Pontypool, but independent member for Llantarnam, in Cwmbran, Alan Slade abstained. 
Tata’s publicly-available accounts show that since 2007, Tata Steel UK has lost more than £4 billion after tax. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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