Unite repeated its call today (July 18) for UK steel to have tariff free access to the European Union (EU) post-Brexit, as British Steel announced first quarter profits.
Unite also said that ministers must work with their EU counterparts to resolve the issue of steel tariffs introduced by US president Donald Trump as part of his ‘America First’ protectionist agenda.
British Steel described its £21 million first quarter profits as ‘strong’ and it also announced a £50m investment in upgrading its Scunthorpe rod mill.
“The government must now step up and ensure that this brighter future is not short-lived,” said Unite national officer for steel Tony Brady.
“Ministers need to support the UK steel industry by ending the Brexit chaos that has engulfed the government and secure tariff free access and frictionless trade to the European Union in Brexit negotiations,” he added.
“Ministers must also work with their European counterparts to find a resolution to Donald Trump’s steel tariffs and the global overcapacity of steel which threatens the future of the UK’s steel industry.
“This positive news and investment is in no small part down to the British Steel workforce, whose tireless hard work has helped turn the company around.
“Their commitment and sacrifice has helped secure a brighter future for steelmaking in Scunthorpe, when only a few years ago it was hanging by a thread.”
The call for tariff-free access today comes the day after Unite manufacturing reps from across the UK travelled to Parliament on Tuesday (July 17) to lobby MPs for a Brexit that protects jobs.
Among the shop stewards was Unite British Steel rep Martin Foster, who also highlighted the importance of tariff-free access to the EU post-Brexit.
“If we have to pay tariffs it’s going to hurt and it could jeopardise our industry, particularly our company,” he told UNITElive. “British Steel is a very young company – we’ve only been established two years. We’re still finding our feet and we really can’t afford the impact that Brexit could have on us.”