STEELWORKERS and campaigners will march through Newport later this month as part of ongoing efforts to save the city's Orb Electrical Steels plant from closure.

The march, organised by the trade union Community, will take place on Saturday October 12, with those taking part calling on the UK Government and owner Tata Steel to recognise the value of the works both to the local area and the electric vehicle supply chain in the UK.

Tata announced on Monday, September 2, that it proposes to close the Orb works, which employs around 380 people.


The October 12 march will begin at the Transporter Bridge, with a number of senior representatives of the workforce taking the journey across the transporter bridge from the site.

Marchers will be carrying placards and flags, and marching behind a Save Orb Steel banner.

The main march will gather from 12.15pm at Gilligan’s Island, with an anticipated start time of 12.30pm. It will end at the chartist statues outside the Westgate Hotel at around 1.15pm, after which there will be speeches from a workforce representative, Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss, Newport East MP Jessica Morden, and a representative from Newport City Council.

“Community members from across the UK will be joining us at the march to show their support for the Orb, and to highlight our campaign not just for the future of the Orb but for the future of the steel industry in the UK,” said Mr Rickhuss.

“Our march will bring a focus to the Orb and demonstrate to decision makers in the company and in government what’s at stake.

“We know the importance of this site to the local community and to the future supply chain for electric vehicles in the UK.

"It’s imperative that the government and Tata steel recognise the value of this site, invest to enhance its capacity and most importantly ‘Save Orb Steel’ so the works can provide jobs to generations to come. ”

Ms Morden has requested a meeting with the UK Government's business and industries minister Nadhim Zahawi MP ahead of the march.

Her letter to Mr Zahawi, whose portfolio includes the steel industry, follows a letter from Mr Rickhuss to business secretary Andrea Leadsom highlighting Orb’s potential as the only UK plant capable of producing electrical steels required to build electric vehicle motors.

“As I’ve outlined in previous correspondence to the prime minister and Welsh secretary, it’s vital that government ministers and officials grasp the Orb’s potential before it is too late, and work to secure a future for this important and strategic business," said Ms Morden.

"Local representatives would welcome an opportunity to meet with the minister to discuss this, and we’ll be showing our support for Orb with a march through Newport on October 12.”

For information on the march, call Community on 02920 668 800.