Tata Steel commits to keeping Port Talbot open, saving 4,000 jobs

 The deal brings an end to eight months of uncertainty for thousands of workers

Zlata Rodionova
Wednesday 07 December 2016 17:08
The company has committed to investing £1bn in its UK business
The company has committed to investing £1bn in its UK business

More than 4,000 employees at Tata’s Port Talbot steel plant have had their jobs guaranteed for five years after the company committed to invest £1bn in its UK business in a landmark deal for Britain’s steel industry.

The UK’s largest steel unions said they have come to an agreement with Indian conglomerate Tata to rescue the Port Talbot steel works and other sites across the UK.

This includes a guarantee that two blast furnaces at Port Talbot will remain in operation for at least five years, £1bn will be invested into the site to support steel making, and the company will commit to trying to avoid compulsory redundancies for five years.

The agreement is a U-turn for the Indian conglomerate which tried to sell its British operations in March, amid losses of more than £1m a day driven by falling steel prices.

Speaking after meeting with union representatives, Roy Rickhuss of Community, said: “The past year has been incredibly difficult for steelworkers and their families.

“When Tata announced in March that they planned to sell the steelworks, no one knew if they would have a job by Christmas.

“This proposal would secure jobs for years to come and bring serious investment not just to Port Talbot but to steelworks across the UK.

Unite's National Officer, Tony Brady said it is a step in the right direction, but the Government can do more: “The commitments made today by our reps must now be followed by a commitment from the Government that they will hold Tata to their word and ensure jobs are protected.”

Tata employs thousands of workers across the UK, including more than 4,000 at Port Talbot.

Other plants which will benefit from the deal being reached include Llanwern, Trostre, Shotton, Corby, Hartlepool and sites in the West Midlands.

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