A further 1,200 jobs expected to go in Scunthorpe following 2,000 lost in Redcar

TataUnions have renewed calls for the government to step in to save the UK’s steel industry after reports that Tata Steel is to make 1,200 staff redundant.

The firm has refused to deny rumours that the jobs are go at the firm’s Scunthorpe plant, following hard on the heels of 2,000 jobs lost at SSI Steelworks in Redcar.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This would be a hammer-blow for British steel-making and manufacturing in the UK. Ministers have been far too slow to wake-up to the crisis facing heavy industry in Britain.

“Yesterday’s crisis summit should have happened months ago not at the eleventh hour. The government must now step in to stop the loss of even more highly-skilled jobs. The lack of a coherent industrial policy is costing the UK dear.”

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke, who spoke at the summit, said: “This news heaps further uncertainty on the steel industry and all those whose livelihoods depend on it. We will be consulting urgently with Tata over potential job losses and will leave no stone unturned in protecting our members’ jobs and steel making in the UK.

“Time is ticking on the UK’s steel industry and the news of yet more job losses should jolt the government out of its laissez faire approach to this vital part of the UK economy. Now is not the time for platitudes from government ministers, we need urgent action to support steelmaking in the UK.

“If the government is serious about rebalancing the economy then it needs to take action against the dumping of cheap Chinese imports and support an industry which is being hammered by high energy costs.

“Ministers also need to develop an industrial strategy and ensure major infrastructure projects, such as HS2, use British steel so that steelmaking and manufacturing communities here in the UK reap the benefits of such investment.”

Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “This is extremely worrying news for all those who may be affected. We’ll be seeking further discussions with Tata Steel to understand the full detail, examine alternatives that may safeguard jobs and uphold our principle of opposing compulsory redundancies.

“This is yet another blow to our steel communities, demonstrates the precarious state of the UK steel industry and emphasises the need for government action, which Community and the employers have been calling for at the summit today.”

“We will also be seeking a meeting with the Scottish Government as a matter of urgency to discuss what support they can offer to Tata Steel’s Scottish steel mills at Dalzell and Clydebridge.”

  • When steelworkers needed ministers most, they walked away … – read MEP Jude Kirton-Darling’s view here.

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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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