Unions present Tata with alternative plan aimed at saving jobs at steel plant

Unions have given steel giant Tata an alternative plan aimed at saving jobs at the biggest steel plant in the country.

Tata Steel wants to decarbonise its site at Port Talbot in South Wales under moves to safeguard its future.

Unions fear the plan would lead to around 3,000 job losses.

They have used independent consultancy Syndex to draw up an alternative plan for the Port Talbot site which was presented to Tata on Friday.

Charlotte Brumpton-Childs, GMB national officer, said: “Unions always said Tata’s plan wasn’t viable – hopefully the company are beginning to recognise that too.

“The alternative plan developed by Syndex is credible, workable and will secure decarbonised steelmaking in South Wales – as well as further down the supply chain.

“Tata, the Government and unions now need to work together to make it happen.”

A Tata Steel spokesperson said: “Tata Steel, its employee representatives and the UK and Welsh governments are all committed to transitioning to greener steelmaking in the UK.

“While we recognise the understandable concerns of our many stakeholders, we are confident that we can build a sustainable, low carbon business that continues to support steel communities, and will be at the heart of a future green UK economy.

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss the UK Steel Committee’s report and the independent analysis it will offer. We will give it full consideration before entering into formal consultation with our employee representatives and will ensure these discussions are transparent, productive and carried out in a meaningful way.”

A joint statement from unions Community, GMB and Unite said: “The unions have told Tata Steel that their current proposals are unacceptable, and national officials from Community, Unite and GMB met today with the company to present alternative proposals developed by industry experts Syndex.

“The unions believe that Syndex have prepared a credible and deliverable alternative plan to decarbonise steelmaking at Port Talbot which can make the business fully sustainable, avoid compulsory redundancies and safeguard the future for all the downstream sites.

“Today’s discussion was constructive, and moving forward we urge Tata to progress meaningful consultations and show greater ambition to secure the future of Tata Steel UK.

“The stakes are high and the Government must play their part through engaging with the unions to assess the best strategy for the industry and for the country as a whole.”

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “A just transition to net zero can only be delivered with workers at the table. It is unacceptable that the steel unions were locked out of negotiations between ministers and Tata Steel about Port Talbot.

“The agreement reached between Tata Steel and the government is a bad deal for workers, for the steel industry and for the country. It will result in mass job losses, further run down Britain’s industrial capacity and fail to deliver the jobs of the future that we desperately need.

“Today Community, Unite and GMB are putting forward a better plan – one that will protect jobs, lead an industrial revival and meet the UK’s commitment to net zero.

“It’s time for ministers and Tata Steel to step back from the brink, sit down with unions and engage with this serious plan to secure the future of steelmaking at Port Talbot.”