GMB Blame George Osborne And Peter Mandelson For Craven China Policy Giving Rise To Lack Of Action On Steel Dumping From China
Only the UK Government acting with the EU can deal with dumping of steel and green taxes on energy prices and these has been a total lack of action says GMB.
GMB responded to Tata Steel announcing 1,200 jobs to go in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire. See notes to editors for copy of press release.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “Only the UK Government acting with the EU can deal with dumping of steel and green taxes on energy prices.
Look at the dismal record:
· 16th July Tata Steel announce 720 jobs losses in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Wednesbury. No action from Government.
· 25th August Tata announce 250 redundancies in strip steel at Llanwern. No action from Government.
· 18th September 2015 SSI announce 2,200 jobs at Redcar under threat. No action from Government.
· 19th October steel firm Caparo in administration. No action from Government.
· 20 October Tata announce 1,200 jobs to go in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire. No action from Government.
This lack of action on dumping is because George Osborne and Peter Mandelson are in charge of UK policy towards China and their approach is supine.
It is the same craven policy from them that is allowing China, in return for recycling money paid from UK high streets into investment in Hinkley Point, to build an untried nuclear reactor 60 miles from London while there are serious questions over Chinese nuclear safety.
Parliament has to insist on immediate action on steel.”
Jim Moohan, GMB Scotland, added “The precarious position of the steel industry in Scotland and UK wide has once again been exposed as to our limitations in as how we protect UK industries. We continually allow the different sectors being destabilised to the extent that the viability comes into serious question due to loss of skills and experience and the lack of investment that has led us into this present day position.
A taskforce is vital only if it is proactive and changes the face of the challenge that we have at the present time. The 1200 jobs UK wide of which 270 are in Scotland due to the global price of steel leaves us at the cliff edge of 100% imports for the long term future. This is not acceptable and the Scottish and UK Governments must take firm decisions to work together for the benefit of the UK economy. Anything less will once again highlight the absolute failure to have a vision and a strategy for an important link in the chain of the industrial sectors which must remain viable and job secure.”
Shaune Clarkson, GMB officer in Scunthorpe, added “This is a devastating blow to the economy in Scunthorpe. It will hit the local community as everyone is either directly or indirectly connected to making steel in Scunthorpe and the trade unions will continue the fight to Stand up for Steel.
MPs should question the Chinese leader when he addresses the House of Commons today on the dumping of cheap steel imports from China which is a major factor in this decision.
The government must end its inaction and support the steel industry in the UK like they did when the banks got themselves into trouble.
Government should also end its refusal to use the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund as it has the opportunity to apply for it. It could help to support our members following closures and redundancies.
Local councillors should also reduce the cost of rates that the site has to pay to the authority.”
Contact: Jim Moohan, GMB Scotland on 07885 868405 or Shaune Clarkson, GMB Scunthorpe 07738 767561 or Jeff Beck in Wales on 07980 753 112 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
Notes to editors
Copy of Tata press release dated 20 October 2015
Restructure announced at Tata Steel’s Long Products Europe business
Tata Steel’s Long Products Europe business today announced proposals to stop production of steel plate.
This comes in response to a shift in market conditions caused by a flood of cheap imports, particularly from China, a strong pound and high electricity costs.
As a result, Tata Steel has been forced to make changes to its Long Products Europe business. The proposed changes would lead to around 1,200 job losses – about 900 in Scunthorpe and 270 in Scotland as well as a small number at other Long Products Europe sites. Plate mills in Scunthorpe, Dalzell and Clydebridge would be mothballed while one of the two coke ovens at the Scunthorpe steelworks would be closed.
Karl Koehler, Chief Executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “I realise how distressing this news will be for all those affected. We have looked at all other options before proposing these changes.
“We will work closely with affected employees and their trade union representatives. We will look to redeploy employees, wherever possible, and minimise employee hardship.
“The UK steel industry is struggling for survival in the face of extremely challenging market conditions. This industry has a crucial role to play in rebalancing the UK economy, but we need a fairer system to encourage growth. The European Commission needs to do much more to deal with unfairly traded imports – inaction threatens the future of the entire European steel industry.”
In the past two years, imports of steel plate into Europe have doubled and imports from China have quadrupled, causing steel prices to fall steeply. At the same time, a stronger pound has undermined the competitiveness of the business’s Europe-bound exports, and encouraged more imports.
In response, Tata Steel is concentrating on higher-value markets with a focus on developing stronger and lighter products for its customers.
Bimlendra Jha, Executive Chairman of the stand-alone Long Products Europe business, said: “Today’s proposals mark the next step in reshaping our business to give it the best chance of survival in this fiercely-competitive global marketplace. We are looking closely at the performance of all parts of Long Products Europe as part of a focus on returning to profitability.”
The consultation process with Tata Steel employees and their trade union representatives begins today.
Tata Steel’s subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise will look at how it can provide more support to the local communities affected by today’s announcement and help stimulate new job creation in those areas. Over the last four decades the company has helped to regenerate local economies with £88 million of support and created more than 75,000 new jobs across the UK.
For further information:
Please call the Tata Steel press office on +44 (0)1724 406780 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, call Bob Jones on +44 (0) 207 717 4532 or email@example.com
About Tata Steel’s European operations
Tata Steel is Europe's second largest steel producer, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies high-quality steel products to the most demanding markets, including construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting & excavating, energy and aerospace. Tata Steel works with customers to develop new steel products that give them a competitive edge. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with a steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and 80,000 employees across five continents.