Aberavon AM marched with Steelworkers in Brussels

Following the announcement last month of the job losses at Tata Steel Port Talbot, David Rees AM has been working with the Trade Unions and colleagues to put into place support for those losing their jobs and also to look at the options and means by which we can sustain a viable Steel making operation in Port Talbot. It is well known that the barriers facing the Steel Industry, who are only asking for a level playing field in a competitive market place, are high energy costs and the unfair dumping of cheap steel from other countries.

Aberavon’s AM, David Rees, and MP, Stephen Kinnock, have been lobbying the UK Government hard for them to take action on these areas as they have the major levers to tackle high energy prices and lead on anti-dumping measures within Europe. They welcome the recent visit to the Tata works by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to see for himself the difficult challenges facing not only local steelworkers, but the UK Steel Industry as a whole and also the impact that the recent job losses will have on the economy of Port Talbot.

David Rees said; “Following his visit last week I hope the Secretary of State now shares my belief that there is a strong future for Steel making in Wales and will take that message back to the cabinet in London. It’s time to see action from the UK government both on high energy prices in the UK and taking a lead in Europe to address cheap imports of steel from China and other countries.

He added “However, I was disappointed that the Secretary of State didn’t accept my offer to meet to discuss the issues facing the Port Talbot works and the UK Steel Industry. We now need him to ensure the UK government joins the Welsh Government to act in unison in support of our Steel Industry and protect the manufacturing base within the UK economy.”

David Rees AM also took this message to Brussels last week where he met with staff from the EU Commission to discuss both the introduction of anti-dumping measures against cheap imports of steel and support available for those Steel workers losing their jobs and for the communities in which they live. While in Brussels he joined Steelworkers and Managers from Tata Steel across South Wales who marched alongside other Steelworkers from across Europe who were there to lobby the EU commission for action on Steel. Mr Rees also attended a High Level Conference on Energy Intensive Industries while he was in Brussels, in which the call from industry was clear – act now if the EU wishes to maintain a steel industry.

David Rees said “Last week’s discussions in Brussels allowed me to deliver a clear message to EU officials on the importance of the future of Welsh steel making. The challenges facing the Steel Industry across Europe need to be addressed to give our steel workers every opportunity to compete in the global market place.  We know steel workers in Port Talbot can deliver if they are given that level playing field.”