Unite accused the government of allowing the ‘light to be snuffed out’ on steelmaking in Teesside, following the announcement today (October 12) that coke ovens and blast furnace at the SSI Redcar steel mill would be closed.
“The hope of a buyer stepping in has been cruelly extinguished by the liquidator’s haste and the government’s refusal to step in and buy more coal to keep the coke ovens alight,” Unite national officer Harish Patel said.
“It is devastating news for all those whose livelihoods depend on steel making on Teesside and the hopes of a community who thought that an alternative solution could be found,” he added.
Patel condemned the “government’s laissez faire approach” which, he said, sets a dangerous precedent for an industry battling to stay afloat in the face of cheap Chinese imports and high energy costs.
“We would urge the government to change its stance, to intervene and support Redcar and the UK steel industry, so that British industry can take advantage of major projects, such as HS2 and the ‘Northern Powerhouse’,” Patel went on to say.
He warned that steelmaking in the UK is at “crisis point” and that it was time for the government to stop hiding behind EU rules and follow the lead of the Italian, French and German governments by intervening to save a critical part of the British economy.