British Steel workers and their colleagues in the supply chain will be breathing a sigh of relief Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union said today (Wednesday 1 May), after the government confirmed it was giving the steel maker a loan to help it meet carbon emissions bills.

While welcoming the move, Unite warned that it could be a ‘sticking plaster’ unless the government addressed the wider underlying problems facing the industry and called on British Steel to provide assurances on the firm’s long term future.

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “British Steel workers and their colleagues in the supply chain will be breathing a sigh of relief and welcome news of this loan.

“That relief could be short lived and prove to be a sticking plaster, unless the government addresses the wider underlying problems facing the UK steel industry.

“Brexit is hitting sales and creating uncertainty for the company and the industry, while high energy costs are leaving steel makers competing with their European competitors with one hand tied behind their backs.   

“The government can and should go further in supporting the wider steel industry with help on business rates and high energy costs, while securing a Brexit deal that secures a customs union and continued tariff free frictionless trade.

“Ministers must also put UK steel at the heart of major infrastructure and ensure projects like the Royal Navy’s new Fleet Solid Ships are built in the UK using UK steel.

“In the coming days it is vital that British Steel gives the workforce assurances over the company’s long term future. They have worked hard with great loyalty to take the steel maker forward in challenging conditions and deserve certainty over their future.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 alex.flynn@unitetheunion.org

Notes to editors  

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.