Monday, 18 January 2016

Steel job losses. I stll blame Thatcher.

About 1,000 steel workers are expected to lose their jobs when they arrive for work in Port Talbot.
Thousands of industry jobs have already been lost in Scotland and England, with the focus now set to turn to Wales.

Port Talbot Steelworks' owner Tata employs 4,000 people at the site and 6,000 in Wales.
BBC Wales understands losses, as a result of a slump in the price of steel, will be around 1,000 jobs.
Tata Steel Europe, which employs 17,000 in the UK, is in the throes of a wide-scale reorganisation of its business.
It currently puts £200m a year into the Welsh economy in wages.
Last week, Alan Coombs, the president of the steelworkers' union Community, and chairman of the multi-union group at Port Talbot, said job losses are "inevitable".

He told BBC Wales: "Without doubt there'll be restructuring on the cards - that's if we are in a position to restructure.

"There is concern that we are running out of time."
On Friday, Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock said the industry needs to restructure in order to weather this storm.

Nobody is asking for subsidies. The UK steel industry is asking for a level playing field. We are seeing the massive dumping of heavily subsidised Chinese steel—70% of Chinese steelmakers are state owned—dragging down the price of steel and crippling the British steel industry. This is not about subsidies but about smart regulation, proactive Government intervention and taking action and answering questions afterwards. I am seeking reassurances that the Government will not support China’s application for market economy status, because that would completely undermine any anti-dumping efforts. This is about proactive regulation and intervention, not subsidies.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has urged the UK government to come forward with a package to help the steel industry with their energy costs.

Now Plaid Cymru’s shadow economy minister Rhun ap Iorwerth has called on the Welsh Government to form a taskforce to determine how the future of the industry can be preserved.
Calling the potential consequences of the closure of the Port Talbot plant “too dire to contemplate”, the Ynys Môn AM said a potential solution would be to take a partial stake in the industry.

“I do not believe the Welsh Government can continue to be passive observers as the situation continues to deteriorate,” he said. “Therefore today I am calling for the establishment of a taskforce which will immediately examine all options for protecting our steel industry in Wales.

“When I say all options, I believe that included in that set of potential solutions must be an examination of the Welsh Government possibly taking a temporary stake in the steel industry in Wales in the event of a sudden announcement of closure.

Meanwhile  Ukip blame the European Union  (EU) in the debate between First Minister Carwyn Jones  and Nigel Farage Mr Jones said he met Tata Steel bosses in December, adding: "Not once did they mention the European Union as being some kind of obstacle."

Mr Farage responded by claiming British politicians in Wales and Westminster had been unable to protect the steel industry from cheap Chinese exports.

In truth all the above have a point  including Farage on Europe where the EU have done little to act against Chinese dumping of Steel but we should ask how other members of the EU may survive the current crisis  and taken in the response to the Chinese dumping when their leaders visited the UK last year.

Can assume that even if the UK was outside any EU regulations other trade with China would be given priority and they would be allowed to continue dump  steel to the detriment of our Stael Industries.

Indeed we can trace the whole sorry story to Thatcherite polices, which led to the decimation of the Manufacturing Industry  (particularly Heavy)  in the 80's in which we in Wales suffered particularly badly an despite Stephen Kinnock  calls today the Blair- Brown years  did nothing to reverse. Though of course the current Kinnock was not in Westminster then his party share responsibility  for today's situation.

Yes I still blame Thatcher and her legacy  continues.

 Can any one imagine a right wing Ukip government, subsidising the Steel Industry particularly in Wales?

I can't see Plaid plan working under the current Welsh Assembly Budget either and I doubt  any plea to Westminster will be fruitful.

Indeed it might be to late and once these jobs are lost they will be lost for ever.

If ever there was an example of why we need an Independent Wales in Europe it is this where in cooperation with others we can look to what benefits workers here rather than constantly looking to protect the financial interests of the City of London,


  1. I agree with your conclusion, why on earth are we constantly going cap in hand to the English. Both our populations fail to understand the main thing, we are all in competition for business with England, and right now we have handed them the levers of power to do as they will with them. This means we are losing out hand over fist. Oh I know that northern England is suffering too but it is their government working them over. Not enough was made of this during our referendum but it will be the next time, and there will be a next time. The Establishment should remember 1979 and 1997.

  2. karl koehler the chief executive of tata in europe has said "We need the European Commission to accelerate its response to unfairly traded imports and increase the robustness of its actions. Not doing so threatens the future of the entire European steel industry", and he's right in what he says. EU commissioners could have done more to protect steel producers in europe from cheap imports, a failure which will of course be seized upon by ukip and used to maximum effect in both the forthcoming welsh assembly elections and the referendum on eu membership.

    You are right of course glyn to point out that ukip itself has no actual answers to the plight faced by steel producers in wales or anywhere else in the uk. Yes the westminister government has a lot to answer for helena but it cant be blamed for the fact that world steel prices have plummeted in the last few years. Alas there is no hiding place from globalisation.

  3. Good post, it’s all ideological Thatcher killed the mining industry and Cameron and Osborne will kill the Welsh and UK steel industry, but Labour’s no better there’s no votes for them in saving the Welsh steel industry, it all crocodile tears, handwringing and empty words from them today as it was during the miners strike.

    I’ve’ no idea if Gerry Holtham and Adam Price’s ideas for a part part take over is viable, but surely it’s better than doing nothing which Carwyn Jones has signed he wont, implying he willing to see more lives destroyed, more communities rot and decline into irrelevance.

    But today might not be the worst, there’s a possible fatal body blow for the UK steel industry coming down the tracks if the EU back by the UK Government gives China ‘market economy status’ that’ll enable China to dump cheap steel and manufactured goods in all 28 European countries with no penalties, costing thousands of jobs

  4. I remember marching in Lanarkshire Scotland in the early seventies to try and prevent labour closures and contraction of the steel industry thatcher might have carried on the destruction but labour started it