Labor joins unions in plans to boost steel sector – LabourList

Labor joined forces with the steel unions on plans to buy, manufacture and sell in Britain in a bid to boost the steel sector in Britain which has been “so hard. left behind “by the current Conservative government.

According to the party-affiliated community union, which represents thousands of steelworkers in the UK, steel consumption fell 16% in 2020, but the industry can still be a growth engine for the country.

For 1,000 tonnes of steel produced each year, ten jobs are created or protected. This has translated into 32,600 high-skilled and well-paying jobs in places like Wales, Yorkshire and Humberside, and 41,000 more in the supply chain last year.

“Steel is a pride of British industry and drives many types of business forward, including offshore wind and defense technologies important to our national security. Yet this government seems determined to hold it back, ”said Rachel Reeves.

Labor presented a plan to buy, manufacture and sell more in Britain, under which the governing party would use extensive social and environmental clauses in contracts to help British companies earn more.

The opposition party says it could help UK steelmakers and suppliers in particular to gain more leverage through contracts when public sector spending is used to purchase steel.

This could have meant that more British steel has been used for contracts in recent years, such as those for the construction of wind turbines on the east coast of Scotland which have instead gone to China and others. country.

Labor pointed out that the BiFab company lost such contracts despite its pledge to use Dalzell-rolled steel sheet from steel made in Scunthorpe, which has reportedly supported thousands of jobs across the UK .

The Shadow Chancellor added: “Instead of handing over public money to overseas companies to manufacture and manufacture steel products, Labor’s plan to buy, manufacture and sell more in Britain means we can use more British steel, create more quality jobs here and boost our businesses. .

“As we look to our recovery, we should be running industries at full capacity so that we have the jobs we need for a more secure and resilient economy.”

The party pointed out that less than 30% of the steel purchased for the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates over the past year came from UK suppliers, while hospitals and schools used steel which could have been bought in UK but came from elsewhere.

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community Union, said: “A commitment to buy British steel is an investment in Britain. Contracts should not be awarded solely on the basis of cost, but should properly take into account the social and environmental benefits of local procurement. Buying British steel supports thousands of jobs and livelihoods, benefits our economy, brings value to the taxpayer and is better for the environment.

“Steel is not an industry of the past, but that of the future. Britain needs a strong and sustainable steel industry. Not only do thousands of families and their communities depend on the steel industry for their jobs and livelihoods, it is a basic industry, crucial for other sectors such as transportation, defense and aerospace. . As we seek to rebuild our economy from the pandemic, it is vital that our steel industry be at the heart of any industrial strategy going forward. “

GMB national officer Ross Murdoch said: ‘If the government is serious about rebuilding and’ leveling ‘the UK it needs to make sure decent, well-paying UK jobs are guaranteed here and that steel as a basic industry should play a major role in this regard. “

“We urgently need more government action to support a return to manufacturing, but inaction and procrastination by ministers has meant that the steel industry is now affected by rising prices. energy as well as persistent failures to ensure that steel made in the UK is used locally.

“Nowhere has this spectacle been more absurd than listening to the Prime Minister make fairy-tale promises of green jobs revolutions when 84 vests of Chinese-made wind turbines are shipped around the world on a greedy tanker by diesel to the North Sea just a few kilometers away. away from our own fabrication yards in Fife which could and should have fabricated them using steel made in the UK with struggling companies like Liberty Steel. It is intolerable hypocrisy.

Unite’s National Officer for Tata Steel, Tony Brady, said: “Our steel industry supports many local communities and the short-term thinking and neglect of this core industry by the Conservatives has led to continued uncertainty for this skilled workforce.

“A common industrial strategy that invests in our steel and uses it to modernize our country’s infrastructure for the long term will not only put the steel industry on a more secure footing, but will provide quality jobs all along the chain. supply and will provide a vital boost to communities. “

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