WALES' economy minister has called on Tata Steel to provide "support" to those facing redundancy in Newport and Port Talbot.

In the Senedd today (Tuesday, April 30), Jeremy Miles MS, the cabinet secretary for economy, energy and Welsh language, said it was "extremely disappointing" that the company had not taken up the proposals from the unions involved or the recommendations from the multi-union report.

On the same afternoon, politicians also locked horns over Tata's job cuts in Westminster, with Labour accusing Welsh Secretary David TC Davies of 'not caring'.

Mr Miles added that this will have a "devastating impact for thousands of workers, their families and whole communities in Wales, especially in Port Talbot."

South Wales Argus: Jeremy Miles MSJeremy Miles MS (Image: Senedd)

Tata's plan is to close one blast furnace in June, and the remaining heavy end assets as well as a second blast furnace by the end of September.

The cabinet secretary said: "Tata has previously announced that up to 2,800 jobs are expected to be lost as part of its transition plan, around 2,500 of which would be impacted in tranches over the next 18 months, with the first tranche expected this July. 

"The company expects that a further 300 roles would be lost in two to three years at the Llanwern site."

Mr Miles MS said: "We are justly proud of our steel sector in Wales, it provides a strategic asset for the UK with a skilled workforce able to deliver the sustainable, primary steel making capacity for the Welsh and UK economy and for which the Welsh Government have argued consistently."

The steel firm recently announced its plans to build a £1.25 billion electric arc furnace, to replace two blast furnaces at Port Talbot, with £500 million UK government support.

Mr Miles MS highlighted that Tata Steel should do all it could to avoid "compulsory redundancies" by working with the transition board to make sure affected employees receive the correct help and guidance. This can be in terms of reskilling them or helping them to seek other employment.

As the consultation balloting Community, GMB and Unite steel union members comes to an end on Thursday, May 9, impact on the steel firms workforce is expected to be considerable.

Read more: Tata Steel union members hand petition to the Senedd

Welsh Conservative Shadow Economy Minister, Samuel Kurtz MS echoed the disappointment over Tata's decision but called for the Welsh Labour government to do more.

“The disappointment felt by those losing employment at Tata cannot be understated." he said. "We need to support our steelworkers, not just with warm words, but with skills, retraining and jobs.

“We have been clear that we want to see a blast furnace remain open in the transition to electric arc furnaces and we need to take full advantage of the opportunities that the new Celtic Freeport will bring.”