Commenting after the announcement that Tata is to end production at Dalzell and Clydebridge with the loss of 270 jobs, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said:
“This announcement is a crushing blow for the workforce, the communities of Motherwell and Cambuslang and the manufacturing sector as a whole. While we welcome the decision to mothball the plants, it is essential that the UK and Scottish Governments now respond with the speed and gravity the situation demands.
“The UK Government must work with the industry to prevent the unfair dumping of Chinese steel on the UK market and provide a package of support similar to those routinely provided by other European nations to their energy intensive manufacturing sectors.
“The Scottish Government must work with the Tata and the trade unions to provide a package of assistance to sustain jobs and the skills base whilst a strategy for the sector’s future development is agreed and implemented. Simply relying on the usual interventions to help find jobs for redundant workers will be unacceptable at this stage”.
“The complacency with which many seem to accept the demise of yet another manufacturing industry is disgraceful and belies ignorance about the ways in which other countries have coped more effectively with the pressures of globalisation.
“The STUC and the steel trade unions are not blind to global economic forces. The collapse in the steel price has obvious consequences for Scottish production just as the falling oil price has inevitably affected the North Sea.
“Yet the least workers in both plants can expect is a level playing field. It is unacceptable that China is able to dump its steel at below the cost of production and that the support provided to the UK steel industry, like other energy intensive sectors, receives nothing like the support available to the sector in other European countries.
“The STUC is increasingly concerned over the state of the Scottish economy. Recent labour market and growth statistics suggest a significant slowing of the recovery through the middle part of this year. The loss of Clydebridge and Dalzell comes after a year in which significant North Sea job losses have been compounded by the loss of Tullis Russel and the forthcoming closure of Longannet. Scotland cannot afford to be complacent over the loss of large employers in the productive sector which directly sustain supply chains and indirectly support the producers of local goods and services.
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