UK MP urges Tata Steel to back Talbot turnaround plan

28 Mar 2016


Tata Steel must "hold its nerve" and back the Port Talbot plant in crunch talks over the site's future to be held in India, a British MP has said.

Representatives of the Community union have flown out to Mumbai ahead of discussions with the Tata Steel board on Tuesday.

The south Wales site bore the brunt of 1,050 job cuts announced in January.

Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock said the firm should back a plan to turn around Port Talbot's fortunes and make it profitable in future.

The plant had been losing an estimated £1 million a day prior to the announcement of 750 jobs being cut, leaving about 3,500 workers.

Speaking prior to his departure, Roy Rickhuss, Community's general secretary, said, "No one underestimates the scale of the challenge we are facing, but our steel industry is of vital importance to our communities, our families and our nation.

"In Mumbai, I'll be standing up for the whole UK steel industry and asking Tata to give us the chance we need to succeed."

The combined impact of cheap Chinese imports, a strong pound and high energy costs were blamed for the torrid time faced by the UK steel industry. As a result, Tata Steel has been steadily winding down its operations in the UK and Europe in recent months.

Kinnock, who has also travelled to India, said, "What we need now is Tata Steel to hold its nerve to back the plan and we can move forward, get the steelworks back to break even and then, over a longer period, getting it really operating in surplus again."

On Tuesday, the Tata board will meet to discuss the 1,050 jobs cuts across the UK, including 200 support staff and 15 at Trostre, Llanelli, as well as workers in Hartlepool in north east England and Corby, Northamptonshire.

Business Minister Anna Soubry previously said the cuts at Port Talbot and other sites showed the steel industry was having to "take tough decisions in the face of extremely challenging conditions".

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