UK steel workers fly to India in bid to save plant

UK steel workers fly to India in bid to save plant

UK steel workers and their families have made an emotional video to try and persuade the Tata Steel board in India to save its loss-making South Wales plant at Port Talbot.

Local MP Stephen Kinnock, pictured at the plant, and campaigners will also to travel to India as part of the campaign to make a direct, final appeal to the Tata Steel board when it meets on 29 March to discuss a rescue plan for Port Talbot steel mill.

However, some media reports suggest the Tata Steel board could fail to agree a plan to save the Port Talbot steel works, which is said to be losing £1m a day, at the vital meeting.

A spokesman for the steelworkers’ union, Community, said: “With the board due to meet in India on March 29, the trade union has released an emotional video in which steelworkers and their families call on Tata and the UK Government to back the turnaround plan and save the works from closure.”

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community will travel to India, along with two steelworkers and Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock to make the case directly to the board.

Community is calling on all those who care about the steel industry in the UK to share the campaign video and sign an open letter to the Tata board, asking them to back the steelworkers in their fight for survival.

Mr Rickhuss said: “This campaign could not be more important. It is now clear that the very future of our industry hangs in the balance.

“The Tata board meeting on March 29th will decide on the future of steel making in Wales. This video features those people who would suffer most is our steelworks were to close. I am travelling to India with some of Port Talbot’s steelworkers to make the case directly to Tata’s board.

“There is a solid plan to turnaround the business and I am certain that with right support this campaign can be the difference between closure and a profitable future.”

The open letter to Tata Chairman Cyrus Mistry which Community hopes will be signed by thousands, reads: “On March 29 you have an opportunity to agree to the turnaround plan to save steel production at the plants in Port Talbot and Llanwern.

“This is about more than steel plants. This is about the future of steel communities and an industry that has been the beating heart of South Wales for over a century. Communities that rely on steel for jobs and homes.

“This is about more than just my future, this is about the future of all the young people in my community and the lives they have yet to work and lead. For the first time in a generation, there is a very real threat that our steelworks could close.

“Jamsetji Tata’s (the founder of Tata) belief that a company should play a significant and beneficial role within the local community is more relevant now than at any point in the last 100 years; that’s why I’m asking you to back the plan, back Welsh steel workers and secure the future of steel making in South Wales.”

A spokesman for Tata said: “We have invested significantly in our UK operations. Recently we’ve sought to reduce costs to become more competitive and better able to withstand extremely challenging market conditions. The environment for steel making is not improving.”

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