Community and Unite say government should have stepped in to save jobs

Redcar steelUnions have condemned the government for failing to intervene to save the SSI Redcar steel mill.

The owners of the Teeside plant today announced its coke ovens and blast furnace would be turned off because they were unable to find a buyer.

Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “The hope of a buyer stepping in has been cruelly extinguished by the liquidator’s haste and the government’s refusal to step in and buy more coal to keep the coke ovens alight.

“It is devastating news for all those whose livelihoods depend on steel making on Teesside and the hopes of a community who thought that an alternative solution could be found.

“The light on steelmaking on Teesside has been snuffed out by the government’s laissez faire approach which sets a dangerous precedent for an industry battling to stay afloat in the face of cheap Chinese imports and high energy costs.

“We would urge the government to change its stance, to intervene and support Redcar and the UK steel industry, so that British industry can take advantage of major projects, such as HS2 and the ‘Northern Powerhouse.’

“Steelmaking in the UK is at a crisis point. It is time for the government to stop hiding behind EU rules and follow the lead of the Italian, French and German governments by intervening to save a critical part of the British economy.”

Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “Clearly this is devastating news. The government must now step in, take the plant into temporary public ownership, and protect and preserve these vital industrial assets. Keeping the coke ovens running and mothballing the blast furnace effectively would give Teesside steel the chance of a future. A hard closure will just leave a community devastated and taxpayers picking up the cost of cleaning the site.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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