SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): In a last attempt to save jobs, union leaders at Tata Steel Port Talbot steelworks warned the company management that its UK steelmaking will be at risk if it goes ahead with the closure of blast furnaces. The company must keep a blast furnace at the site open until 2032 to avoid such a risk, they said.
The company was about to make a final announcement regarding possible shutdown of two blast furnaces, which in turn would lead to at least 3,000 job losses. However, it withdrew from the decision in the last minute, in order to give the unions a chance to announce their stand.
Two of the main unions- Community and GMB extended support to the proposals put forward by the consultancy firm Sydnex, which has already been presented to the Tata Steel management. On the other hand, Unite openly opposed the possible job cuts as per the alternative plan.
The India-headquartered steel conglomerate plans to switch to green steelmaking by shifting to less carbon intensive electric arc furnaces. However, these would become operational only by 2027 and would significantly reduce the number of workers required over the long term. The proposal by Syndex suggests a two-stage transition process, which in turn will protect around 2,000 jobs.