Members of Community and Unite travel from North East to Parliament to attend opposition day debate

ParliamentSteelworkers from across the country are today travelling to the House of Commons to urge MPs and the government to ‘Save our Steel’ in an opposition day debate on the future of the UK steel industry.

The workers, from steel communities in Teesside, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, the West Midlands and south Wales will be gathering outside Parliament at 10am before meeting with MPs ahead of the debate in committee room 11 of the House of Commons.

The debate follows a series of announcements which have rocked the UK steel industry over the last few weeks. Following on from the recent closure of the Redcar steel mill with the loss of 2,200 jobs, Tata Steel UK last week confirmed plans to shed 1,100 jobs at sites in Scunthorpe and Scotland.

Last week also saw steel processing giant Caparo Industries go into administration threating 1,700 jobs.

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: “The message from steelworkers and their communities to the government is clear. Step in and support the industry to save our steel before it’s too late.

“We have already seen the consequences of the government’s failure to act on Teesside. Instead of intervening to keep the coke ovens burning at Redcar, ministers sat on their hands and allowed a key industrial asset to close forever taking with it the livelihoods of thousands of people.

“The approach by ministers so far has been to deal with the symptoms of the steel crisis, when what steel and manufacturing communities want is action that secures UK steelmaking and secures their futures.

“How many more jobs need to go and how many more communities will be devastated before the government acts?

“We urge MPs to send a strong message to the government on behalf of tens of thousands of steelworkers and their families and back action to support their jobs and the UK’s steel industry.”

Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “I look forward to joining with representatives of steelworks across the UK as we make the case to MPs on all sides of Parliament about what we believe the government should be doing to support the UK steel industry through this current crisis.

“I will be particularly interested to hear the response to the debate from the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid MP. No doubt he will be keen to demonstrate that his discussions in Europe this week have delivered action on state aid clearance and steel dumping and that he has not returned empty-handed.

“Our message this week remains a loud and clear appeal to the government to save our steel. We have already seen thousands of jobs go in Redcar, now thousands more are on the line in Scunthorpe, South Yorkshire, Lanarkshire and within Caparo sites across the UK. The government still needs to give a sign to steel producers that this vital foundation industry has a future.

“The eyes of the UK are on the steel industry and people will be watching the response of ministers to the issues raised in Parliament this week. The government needs to demonstrate that it has heard the steelworkers and employers’ concerns and that it understands the urgency of the situation.”

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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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