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Tata Steel executives hold discussions with unions amidst concerns about potential job cuts

Unions are set to engage in their first meeting with Tata Steel executives since the announcement of plans to adopt greener steel production methods at the Port Talbot steelworks.

This move follows a £1.2 billion agreement between the UK government and Tata, which is anticipated to lead to approximately 3,000 job reductions nationwide.

The Community union emphasized the necessity for Tata to provide more detailed information, while Tata Steel expressed its dedication to substantive discussions and a willingness to address union concerns.

The cessation of blast furnace production in Port Talbot is viewed as a pivotal step in reducing emissions within the UK steel industry. This site currently operates two blast furnaces continuously, producing steel for a wide range of applications, from tin cans to automobiles.

The Port Talbot facility stands as the foremost source of pollution in Wales, releasing approximately two metric tons of carbon emissions for every metric ton of steel it manufactures.

On Friday, the UK government unveiled its pledge of up to £500 million to support Tata’s decarbonization initiative, earmarked for the implementation of new electric arc furnaces. Tata has confirmed its own commitment of £750 million towards this endeavour.

Tata maintains a workforce of approximately 8,000 individuals in the United Kingdom, with half of them based in Port Talbot.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch asserted that the agreement safeguards around 5,000 jobs that would otherwise have been at risk, while potentially jeopardizing the positions of roughly 3,000 other employees within Tata Steel UK.

Senior executives from Tata Steel UK are scheduled to convene with representatives from the Community, Unite, and GMB unions at a central London hotel later this morning.

The steelworkers’ union, Community, has urged for a thorough and substantive consultation regarding the proposed plans.

Roy Rickhuss, the general secretary, emphasized the importance of Tata providing comprehensive details. He stated that the union could not endorse a plan solely centered around installing an electric arc furnace in Port Talbot, neglecting consideration of other technologies.

Rickhuss added that the meeting scheduled for Wednesday represents the initial step following the announcement, and stressed that the consultation must genuinely involve Tata attentively listening to the concerns and input from the Community union and its members.