Local Politicians raise concerns as Trostre sale will impact on future production at Port Talbot (Published 06/04/2019)

Aberavon’s two leading politicians, Stephen Kinnock MP and David Rees AM, have expressed their concerns following last week’s news that TATA are likely to sell the packaging sector of their interests in Wales based at Trostre in order to successfully complete the Joint Venture with ThyssenKrupp.  They are worried that this proposal could impact upon the future levels of steel production at the Port Talbot works.  It is understood that between 300,000 and 400,000 tonnes of rolled steel is supplied to Trostre from Port Talbot and once Trostre is operating as a separate business they may look to source their steel from another steel producer, including from outside the UK.  The loss of this large client will lead to reduced production in the short term and, unless a new client is found, the possibility of the closure of one of the two Blast Furnaces at Port Talbot.


The sale of Trostre is one of the requirements being put forward as a solution to concerns being expressed in the EU as a consequence of the merger between TATA Europe and ThyssenKrupp which will create the 2nd largest steel making organisation in Europe. The Trostre works is one of 4 major plants owned by TATA in Wales which work in unison to deliver a strong steel sector that supports the Welsh economy, with Port Talbot being the heart of that group of steel plants.  The impact of the sale of one of these plants will undoubtedly be detrimental to others and weaken the steel sector in Wales by reducing the effective working of the TATA group of plants.


On Wednesday 10th April the Steel Trade Unions issued a statement expressing their deepening concern regarding the joint venture, expressing that they are no longer convinced that the merger between the two steel companies should continue.  The proposals to sell off Tata plants creates an impression that this is no longer a merger but ‘a takeover’, with TATA the junior member in this agreement as the balance of power swings towards ThyssenKrupp.


Stephen Kinnock MP said “Since 2016 when TATA announced their original plan to sell the Port Talbot works we have fought alongside steelworkers to ensure the sustainability of the Port Talbot works.  It was believed that when TATA announced a plan to invest in their steel sector in the UK that we had turned the corner and moving towards a strong future.  This decision now puts question marks over the commitment of TATA to deliver on that vision and I urge them to take action to ensure that production at Port Talbot does not become a victim of the joint venture.”


David Rees, the local AM, added “The news of the possible sale of Trostre means that Port Talbot could once again face a major challenge to deliver a sustainable future for steel making in Wales. The Welsh Labour Government has proactively supported the steel industry in Wales, unlike the UK Tory Government, and I have called upon them to meet with the Chief Executive of TATA to seek reassurances for the future of the Port Talbot plant and their continued involvement and investment in steelmaking in Wales.  The employees of TATA and their families need that reassurance having worked through dark times in recent years to secure a brighter future, which they should now be looking forward to.”


Both local politicians are working with colleagues in Llanelli to seek meetings with TATA to discuss the future of TATA in Port Talbot and across Wales.