THE Orb Electrical Steels plant in Newport should have a bright and prosperous future – and you can help us ensure it does by signing our petition.

In September Tata Steel announced the plant would close by the end of the year – putting 380 jobs at risk.

We believe this is the wrong decision, and we’re petitioning the UK government to step in to save the facility.


But we need your help.

The weeks following Tata’s announcement have already seen hundreds march through the city centre calling for the plant to stay open.

Argus editor Nicole Garnon said: “We believe that the decision to close Orb Electrical Steels is short-sighted and down the line would be shown to be a missed opportunity.

“It would take a relatively small investment from the government to secure the future for this plant and for its hundreds of workers.

“Orb has a long and proud history in Newport, and we believe we need to be fighting to keep manufacturing industry like this and not just let it disappear.

“So, we urge as many of you as possible to sign our petition, cut it out from the paper, download it from the web, photocopy it and then get it back to us here at the South Wales Argus by December 12.”

Tata has said converting the site to create steels for future electric vehicle production would cost more than £50 million.

Yet the demand for such steel is there.


A report put together by Tata themselves claimed demand for steel for electrical vehicles will grow by 4.2 million tonnes by 2050.

And Orb is currently the only site in the UK capable of producing the electrical steel needed to provide motors for these vehicles.

In his first speech to Parliament as prime minister, Boris Johnson declared that the UK will be “the home of electric vehicles” – so it seems the political will is there – but we need action.

Moreover, a plan has been drawn up by steel workers union Community and consultants Syndex, which concludes that the plant can be saved with £30 million of government funding. It would enable the plant to produce the non-orientated steels required for electric vehicles, alongside the grain-orientated steels that it currently makes.

It would mean a Wales-only supply chain, using coils from the Port Talbot works. A viable strategy, it would seem, is there.

Newport East MP Jessica Morden has been vocal in her support for keeping Orb open.


She said: “Orb has a proud history and with investment can have a bright future as the only plant in the UK which can produce the specialised steel needed for electric vehicles.

“We can’t afford to lose a plant that has such enormous potential and strategic importance.

“The trade union and I have been fighting hard to get this on the government’s agenda.”

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of trade union Community said: “The Orb steelworks is the beating heart of Newport, providing hundreds of jobs and sustaining the livelihoods of thousands of families.

"On October 12, more than 500 people marched on the streets of Newport to show the wielders of power in Westminster, the Senedd and at Tata steel how important this site is to our steel industry and our country.

“We now need to come together again and use our collective voice to call on government and Tata to do the right thing and give the site the investment it needs to have a prosperous future.”

By actively finding a solution to prevent the plant’s closure, the government can signal its intentions to be a champion of electric vehicle production, protect the UK’s supply chain and, crucially, place its confidence in Newport.

Click here to download the petition: Complete Petition.pdf

All signatures must include the following to be accepted by the government:

  • Name
  • Address (to verify you live in the UK and are eligible to sign the petion)
  • Signature

The fourth column can be used to complete your address, include an email address, or left blank

Print it out, sign it, get your friends and family to sign it and drop it into the Argus office in Cardiff Road, Maesglas, Newport, NP20 3QN.