Tata Steel to close Port Talbot blast furnaces

Posted at January 19, 2024 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Tata Steel to close Port Talbot blast furnaces

Tata Steel, the parent company of Port Talbot steelworks, is exploring operational changes in response to ongoing economic challenges.

The company is considering the possibility of discontinuing blast furnace operations at the South Wales plant, a decision that could jeopardise approximately 3,000 jobs and have broader implications for the UK’s steel production landscape.

A proposal from trade unions, designed to address profitability challenges at the Port Talbot facility, has been rejected by Tata Steel.

The company cites financial constraints as it navigates a four-year transition plan towards more sustainable production practices.

A government spokesperson said: “We are determined to secure a sustainable and competitive future for the UK steel sector, which is why we have committed £500 million of UK Government support that will transform the site and protect thousands of jobs – both in Port Talbot and throughout the supply chain.

“Engagement with trade unions is rightly a company-led process. There is a broad range of support for staff affected, including a dedicated transition board backed by £80 million funding from the UK Government and £20 million from Tata Steel.

“Chaired by the Welsh secretary with ministerial representation from the Welsh Government, the board will support both affected employees and the local economy.”

Jess Ralston, an analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, commented on Tata Steel’s decision to close blast furnaces at its Port Talbot works.

Ms Ralston expressed the view that the job losses could have been avoided through a well planned transition to the future of the steel industry, incorporating elements like hydrogen.

Jess Ralston said: “The rest of the world is growing their industry and keeping their jobs in steel. The UK industry will have to transition or face decline.

“We’re currently falling behind Europe in the development of green steel manufacturing, as demand for the product is set to increase. There are around 40 green steel plants in Europe, which are moving away from older coal plants but keeping jobs in steel. Does the UK have a long term, strategic plan for industry?”

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