Steel Closure Is Devastating

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Steel workers march in defence of jobs

THE TORIES ‘must bring British Steel into public ownership’, Unite said after the devastating announcement that the industry fell into liquidation yesterday morning.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: ‘Despite today’s announcement to place British Steel into official receivership, Unite will continue to engage all parties in the fight to secure the future of the company.

‘We are clear that the government must now step up and step in and bring British Steel into public ownership until a buyer can be found to avoid an economic and industrial catastrophe.

‘While Greybull cannot be allowed to walk away scot free and must be held to account for its stewardship of Britain’s second largest steelmaker, ministers cannot wash their hands of the Brexit farce and on-going uncertainty that has placed the company in difficulty, nor allow a business of such strategic importance to UK plc to disappear like the steelworks of SSI several years ago.

‘To do so would be a betrayal of a loyal workforce that has made great sacrifices to make British Steel a success and send economic shockwaves throughout the Steel industry, UK manufacturing and the households of 20,000 workers in the supply chain who rely on the steelmaker for their livelihoods.

‘In the coming days Unite will be giving our members maximum support, while we engage with the administrators and press the government to give British Steel workers a fighting chance to continue their 150 years of steel making history for generations to come.

‘Unite will also press for a full investigation into the financial engineering of Greybull that has left the taxpayer picking up the tab for a trail of corporate destruction which has wreaked havoc on the lives of working people.’

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: ‘This is devastating news for the thousands of workers in Scunthorpe and across the UK.

‘Consecutive UK governments have failed to protect our proud steel heritage, and now this Prime Minister is overseeing its demise.

‘Ministers should have been ready to make use of all the options – including nationalisation – in order to save British Steel but they either don’t care or wouldn’t take off their ideological blinkers to save hard working people and communities.

‘GMB demands urgent reassurances on what the future holds for the thousands of British steel workers and their families.’

  • Labour’s Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said in the House of Commons: ‘At least 25,000 people woke up worried sick this morning wondering if they will have a job this time next week.’

She asked Tory Business minister Greg Clark: ‘What other possible steps will you be pursuing in the coming days?

‘Do they include bringing British Steel into public ownership as Unite the union and Labour Party have called for? Do they include discussions with other interested stakeholders to examine options for saving the company including with Network Rail who secures 95% of their rails from the Scunthorpe site?’

Clark responded: ‘Taking British Steel into part or full ownership does not change the legal status of the company, and will not therefore allow the UK government to legally provide a loan to keep British Steel going.’