WORKERS at Tata Steel are being urged to support a call for industrial action over plant shutdown plans that could leave thousands of people out of work. 

On Friday, March 1, Unite, the UK’s leading union, began formal industrial action proceedings over Tata’s plans to close its Port Talbot blast furnaces and shed 2,800 jobs.

Earlier this week Port Talbot steelworks, Tata UK HQ and Cardiff Castle were illuminated with a message urging Tata workers to vote yes for strike action. 

Unite says Tata’s decision to rush through the plans is incomprehensible given that the union has secured significant investment from Labour for the company’s UK operations.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata is planning to deal an absolutely devastating blow to Port Talbot and Llanwern that will spread destruction across the Welsh economy and risk national security.

“Unite will combat Tata’s plan with everything we have, including our multi-million pound strike fund. Now is the time for the steel workers of Port Talbot and Llanwern to fight for their communities and vote yes to industrial action.

“Tata knows there are other choices to be made – Unite has secured commitments from Labour that £3 billion for UK steel will be made available in the next parliament. Tata needs to change course, Unite won’t stop until it does.”

Unite has officially notified Tata that it will be balloting around 1,500 workers at its Port Talbot and Llanwern sites from Friday, March 8 to Thursday, April 11.

Industrial action could begin before the end of April.

Unite regional secretary for Wales, Peter Hughes, said: “The growing demand for green steel means that Tata should be looking to grow jobs, not cut them. Instead, it seems intent on inflicting a major act of industrial harm on South Wales and the UK economy.

“Our politicians cannot stand by and let Tata destroy a foundation industry vital to the UK’s GDP and national security.

"They should be demanding Welsh workers get the same deal as their Tata counterparts in the Netherlands, where the company is building an electric arc furnace while keeping its coke-powered operations running.”