'Crunch time for steel'

Unite delegate Ivan Monckton urges Labour to back UK steel workers

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Unite delegate Ivan Monckton made a powerful intervention in defence of UK steel workers at Labour Party Conference on Monday (October 9).

Speaking on a debate on industrial strategy, Ivan said that “this is crunch time for steel”.

“It’s time for this party – and the government it will form – to show steelworkers which side it is on,” he noted.

“If the right choices are made now, steel can have a bright future — a future built on commitments to good jobs, sustained through the right investment,” Ivan added.

Ivan went on to say that Unite makes no apology that the union’s Workers’ Plan for Steel “seeks nothing short of making Britain a world leader in green steel production”.

“From Redcar to Sheffield and Port Talbot, we have challenged politicians of all stripes to support four clear demands,” he told conference.

The four demands, Ivan said, included investing in a transition plan now which commits to no job losses; ensuring that any public money comes with solid job guarantees; tackling energy prices by ending rampant profiteering; and changing procurement rules to let UK public contracts set 100% UK steel use. 

Ivan added that “it is an indictment that when steelworkers are fighting for the future of their industry, government support is so pathetic”.

“By changing procurement rules to focus on job guarantees and domestic suppliers, we can significantly increase public sector demand for domestic steel,” he continued.

“Public contracts and all public funds awarded to steel employers must come with ironclad guarantees for jobs and union-recognised rates of pay.”

Urging support for the composite, Ivan concluded, “Steelworkers and their unions are committed to winning worker-led transitions which defend every job and make the UK a global leader in green steel production — our members are committed to winning this future.”

By Hajera Blagg

Pic by Mark Thomas