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Steelworkers from across South Wales to gather in Port Talbot

STEELWORKERS rom South Wales will gather in Port Talbot this Saturday afternoon (Feb 17) for a rally in support of the industry.

The family-friendly rally, organised by steelworkers’ union Community, takes place at the Civic Centre Square beginning at 1.15pm. The rally is set to be addressed by local politicians and reps from the steelworks, as well as Community Union General Secretary Roy Rickhuss. Community is encouraging members of the public to join the rally and show their support, and has asked current and former steelworkers attending to wear their work jacket and helmets to show the pride they have for the industry.

The march has been organised in response to proposed job losses across Tata Steel’s UK operations, with Port Talbot steelworks set to lose almost 2,000 jobs under Tata’s damaging proposals. The company launched its formal 45-day consultation on its damaging proposals for its UK sites, including both Port Talbot and downstream sites in South Wales at Trostre and Llanwern, on Friday 2nd February. Community has informed the company that unions will not be bound by the 45 day period, and has said that consultations should and will take as long as necessary.

Community Union’s National Officer for Steel Alun Davies said: “Tata’s bad deal for steel would be devastating for Port Talbot and South Wales – steel is our part of our lifeblood. The company’s proposals also pose a threat to the UK as a whole, with dire consequences for jobs, the economy, and national security.

“It doesn’t have to be this way, and there is a credible alternative on the table in the form of the Multi-Union Plan which Community and GMB have put forward. That plan now has the support of industry experts, the Labour Party and MS’s from all parties in the Senedd.

“Saturday’s march is an opportunity for the public in Port Talbot to show their support for local steelworkers and for the industry as a whole. Our message to Tata and the UK Government is a simple one: we need our steel.”

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Stephen Kinnock, MP for Aberavon, said: “Port Talbot steelworks has been the beating heart of our community for generations. Tata’s proposals for the site threaten that proud tradition and the works’ enormous future potential. Their narrow, Electric Arc Furnace-only plan would sacrifice highly-skilled local jobs and leave the UK dependent on dirty steel imports. The Tata deal does not work for decarbonisation, does not work for our economy, and it does not work for our national security.

“The Multi-Union Plan put forward by Community and GMB offers a viable alternative, and it will only be strengthened by the investment which Labour has pledged to deliver in government. Now is not the time for Tata to rush ahead on an irreversible and deeply damaging course of action. The people of Port Talbot and South Wales are rightly asking the company to stop and think again before it is too late – it is time for Tata, and the UK Government, to listen.”