STEELWORKERS and union leaders have urged multinational Tata to protect the "jobs of the future" in Llanwern.

The company has confirmed it will close both blast furnaces at Port Talbot in effort to make its business more sustainable and plans to cut 2,500 jobs across the UK over the next 18 months.

Reg Gutteridge, chairman of the Llanwern multi-union, is one of four generations in his family to work at the site.

“This is about jobs of the future for the workforce here with young families, who are just starting their lives,” he said.

“We want a cast-iron guarantee from Tata that they will continue to supply coil to keep Llanwern alive.”

South Wales Argus: Newport council leader Cllr Jane Mudd (L) and economy minister Vaughan Gething (R) heard the workers' concernsNewport council leader Cllr Jane Mudd (L) and economy minister Vaughan Gething (R) heard the workers' concerns (Image: NQ)

Rob Edwards of Community Union said: “Steel demand is projected to go through the roof as the world moves to green infrastructure.

“Why don’t they look to the future and invest in Llanwern?”

Newport East MS John Griffiths said it was “time for UK Government ministers and Tata to get around the table with the trade unions” and act upon the unions' alternative plans.

“If they don’t, they’ll be letting down not just the current generation of highly skilled steelworkers, but also the next generation at Llanwern," he said.

“The site in Newport has great potential for further development as a steel plant, especially with its committed workforce, strong transport links and geographical location. But this can only be achieved with a UK Government willing to make the required investment.”

'Fair transition'

Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East, said plans by the government and Tata presented a “risk” to Llanwern’s “world-class” steel.

“This steel is used by companies like Jaguar Land Rover and BMW for cars, but the electric arc furnace will not be able to produce enough of the quality of steel required to produce those vehicles to the volume on the order book.

"We must protect the industry in South Wales and across the UK, making sure there is a fair transition to green steel that retains the high-skilled workforce, offers well-paid jobs to future generations and enables us to keep sovereign steel making in the UK.

"This proposal does not do that."

A spokesperson for Tata Steel UK said: “The site is part of Tata Steel UK, which continues to play a key strategic role in Tata Steel Group’s global ambitions – this is further reinforced by the recent R&D collaborations announced with University of Manchester and Imperial College in London.