British Steel workers and their colleagues in the supply chain will be breathing a sigh of relief Unite said today (May 1) after the government confirmed it was giving the steel maker a loan to help it meet carbon emissions bills.
While welcoming the move, Unite warned that it could be a ‘sticking plaster’ unless the government addressed the wider underlying problems facing the industry and called on British Steel to provide assurances on the firm’s long term future.
“British Steel workers and their colleagues in the supply chain will be breathing a sigh of relief and welcome news of this loan,” said Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner.
“That relief could be short lived and prove to be a sticking plaster, unless the government addresses the wider underlying problems facing the UK steel industry.
“Brexit is hitting sales and creating uncertainty for the company and the industry, while high energy costs are leaving steel makers competing with their European competitors with one hand tied behind their backs,” he added.
“The government can and should go further in supporting the wider steel industry with help on business rates and high energy costs, while securing a Brexit deal that secures a customs union and continued tariff free frictionless trade.
“Ministers must also put UK steel at the heart of major infrastructure and ensure projects like the Royal Navy’s new Fleet Solid Ships are built in the UK using UK steel.
“In the coming days it is vital that British Steel gives the workforce assurances over the company’s long term future. They have worked hard with great loyalty to take the steel maker forward in challenging conditions and deserve certainty over their future.”