Ministers’ failure to support manufacturing over high energy prices has significantly contributed to the loss of 720 jobs at Tata Steel in Rotherham, Unite said today (July 16).
Unite, which has about 200 members at the Rotherham site, said the UK’s high energy costs, compared with steel competitors in Germany and the Far East were too high – and the government needed to create a level playing field to help the UK steel industry remain competitive.
“High energy prices have made a significant contribution to today’s announcement of the job losses in Rotherham,” said Unite regional officer Doug Patterson. “The strong pound has not helped either when it comes to exporting.
“These job losses are a bitter blow to the workers and their families, as well as the local economy in South Yorkshire,” he added.
“Unite and other steel unions have been making representations to ministers for some time about the high cost of energy, compared with competitors in Germany, other EU countries and the Far East.
“It is clear that we need more of an energy level playing field to help the steel industry in particular and manufacturing in general,” Patterson went on to say. “Other EU countries manage to support their industries in this area, while not breaking EU regulations.
“Unite will be working hard with the other steel unions at Rotherham to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies – and we will be pressing that message strongly at upcoming meetings with the Tata management.”
Tata also blamed higher electricity costs which it said were double those of European competitors.
Unite said that Tata currently employed about 2,200 workers at its South Yorkshire sites of Rotherham, Brinsworth and Stocksbridge. The union said that there may be adverse impact on agency workers employed at Stocksbridge, as a result of today’s announcement.