Workers at Tata Steel to Strike Over Blast Furnace Closures

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Workers at Tata Steel to Strike Over Blast Furnace Closures

In a significant escalation, workers at steel giant Tata are set to strike in protest against the company’s plans to close blast furnaces, resulting in job losses. Unite, the union representing around 1,500 members based in Port Talbot and Llanwern, south Wales, announced an indefinite strike beginning on July 8.

Tata’s shift toward greener steel production, which requires less staff, has led to the elimination of up to 2,800 jobs. This marks the first time in over 40 years that steelworkers in the UK have taken strike action.

Workers At Tata Steel To Strike Over Blast Furnace Closures

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham emphasized that Tata’s workers are not only fighting for their jobs but also for the future of their communities and the Welsh steel industry. She denounced Tata’s decision to close blast furnaces, asserting that South Wales is well-positioned to benefit from the upcoming boom in green steel if the right choices are made.

Tata Steel maintains that its operations remain unaffected by the industrial action. However, the company expressed disappointment at Unite’s unilateral decision to call a strike. According to Tata, their existing steelmaking assets are near the end of their operational life, causing unsustainable daily losses of £1 million.

While preparations to close the blast furnaces in Port Talbot remain unchanged, Tata warns that safety and stability concerns could accelerate closure plans.

Despite the strike, Tata has improved its support offering for affected employees, offering the most generous package in its history. Unite’s decision to strike contrasts with other unions, such as Community and the GMB, which have ruled out industrial action before the General Election.

The battle to save the Welsh steel industry continues as workers stand firm in their fight for a brighter future.

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