Steelworkers today (February 15) voted to accept Tata Steel UK’s investment proposals. In a consultative ballot on Tata Steel’s proposal on pensions, jobs, investment and production, Unite members voted 75 per cent in favour to 25 per cent against, on a turnout of nearly 70 per cent. The other two involved steel unions, the GMB and Community, voted similarly.
“This is not a decision our members have taken lightly,” said Unite national officer Tony Brady. “It has been a hellish time for them, their families and their communities as uncertainty has swirled around the steel industry over this past year or more.
“During that time steelworkers have made great sacrifices to ensure the UK’s world class steel industry has a future,” he added. “Those sacrifices must be repaid by Tata Steel honouring its commitments on investment and job security. Nothing less would be a betrayal and add to the deep mistrust that steelworkers now have for the company.
“The UK government in Westminster must also repay the sacrifices and the commitment shown by steelworkers to their industry by stepping up to support steel and secure its future,” Brady went on to say. “Recent talk of steel being a low priority for UK government ministers in Brexit negotiations is shameful.
“The UK government must now work in lockstep with the Welsh government and put steel at the heart of a manufacturing industrial strategy which ensures UK steel is used in all major infrastructure and defence projects.”
Labour’s shadow minister for steel Gill Furniss hailed the “fanatastic work trade unions have done in getting the deal that has been accepted today.”
“Thousands of steelworkers at Port Talbot now have job security for the next five years, and they deserve the certainty that today’s result brings,” she added.
“Steel is a vital foundation industry for the UK. That is why it is important that today we have got a way forward for the Port Talbot steelworks, and that is why Labour will keep pressing this Government to give the steel sector the support it deserves.
“That means not marking steel ‘low-priority’ in the Brexit negotiations, and not giving steel just one mention in the whole industrial strategy green paper. Actions matter, and this Government has done nothing to show it will actually support the UK steel industry.”
Read more about the Tata deal here.