Aberavon AM David Rees questions Welsh Government over Steel Merger announcement

Following today’s announcement of a joint venture between Tata Steel and Thyssenkrupp AG to create the 2nd largest steel making entity in Europe, David Rees, Assembly Member for Aberavon, has this afternoon raised questions with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, regarding the future and sustainability of the plant at Port Talbot.

Steel workers have given their wholehearted commitment to the steel industry over recent years, including an agreement to reduce their pension benefits, are now concerned over the future of the Port Talbot works within the joint venture. Mr Rees has asked the Cabinet Secretary for reassurances that the £1bn investment committed by Tata as part of the agreement when steel workers were asked to make a difficult decision on their pensions will be honoured by the new entity. He also asked for the Welsh Government to seek assurances on the sustainability of the plant at Port Talbot, the continued investment into the Steel advanced manufacturing research centre at Swansea University’s Bae Campus and that the Welsh Government continues to push the UK government support steel making in the UK, highlighting that since the Tory Government was elected in 2010 the steel industry has effectively been ignored.

David Rees AM said; “The commitment by Tata to invest in the works at Port Talbot must be honoured as part of the merger with ThyssenKrupp. Our steelworkers have demonstrated their commitment to steelmaking day-in day-out for decades and this must be matched by the new joint venture.  Steel making has been our past and will be our future.”

He added; “I will work with the trade unions and Welsh government to deliver a strong and sustainable steel industry in Port Talbot.  The last 18 months have been traumatic for steelworkers and we now need a period of stability to demonstrate the efficiency of the works and the quality of steel that can be produced.  This will be achieved when the promised investment takes effect.”