Crisis in Wales due to the closure of two blast furnaces of one of the largest steel companies in the world

Crisis in Wales due to the closure of two blast furnaces of one of the largest steel companies in the world

The company Tata Steel, one of the largest steel companies of the world based in the United Kingdom, announced today the closure of two of its blast furnaces located in Port Talbot, in Wales, due to the transition towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly production, a measure that implies the loss of almost 3,000 jobs.

Port Talbot, a town on the south coast of Wales, has long been home to one of the largest steel production facilities in the UK, and this decision will have a significant impact on the local economy and the lives of its inhabitants. , according to unions and local authorities.

Under Tata Steel’s proposed restructuring programme, the two high-emission blast furnaces and supporting facilities are scheduled to be phased out.

The first of these blast furnaces and the coke ovens – a porous solid fuel formed from the pyrolysis of metallurgical coal – would close around the middle of this year, followed by a progressive reduction of the other heavy assets during the second half. of the year.

As part of this transition, The company plans to build a new electric arc furnace by 2027.

This measure implies that up to 2,800 workers could see their jobs at risk at steel plant in Waleswith around 2,500 jobs affected over the next 18 months.

The company reported that it made this decision after an exhaustive analysis and in response to the need to reduce carbon emissions and move towards greener steel production.

While this move is an important step in the right direction environmentally, it is still a difficult time for Port Talbot employees and the community.

As previously warned, Stephen Kinnock, the Labor MP for Aberavon, where the Port Talbot steelworks is located, called this decision “absolutely devastating”.

The Port Talbot steelworks is the “beating heart of our economy”, the MP told Sky News TV.

Unions also criticized the decision after the company rejected alternative plans they presented last Thursday and warned of the devastating impact this will have on jobs in south Wales and the future of the steelmaker in this region.

In an official statement, they expressed their deep concern about the consequences of this measure and expressed their determination to defend the rights of workers.

“The company rejected our alternative proposals, which leaves us with a bitter taste in the face of this decision. Our objective was to find a solution that would maintain jobs and safeguard the future of the steel industry in this region,” said union spokesperson John Smith .

Steel workers will be consulted in the coming weeks to determine how to respond to this situation, and although the possibility of taking union action has not been ruled out, the unions are willing to explore all options before reaching that stage.

For its part, the Unite union warned that it will use all the resources at its disposal, including its strike fund of 30 million pounds (about 38 million dollars), to fight job losses and guarantee workers’ rights. in this difficult situation.

Source: Ambito

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