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Tata Steel workers call first strikes in 40 years to halt devastating job losses

TATA STEEL workers will go on an indefinite strike to save their communities from devastating plans to cut up to 2,800 jobs, Unite announced today.

Some 1,500 of its members based in Port Talbot and Llanwern, south Wales, will walk out on July 8 in the first British steelworkers strike in more than 40 years.

The Indian conglomerate announced the job cuts alongside plans to close blast furnaces to switch to a greener form of production earlier this year.

Britain’s largest steelworks’ furnaces are due to be switched off by September to be replaced with cleaner electric arc technology.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata’s workers are not just fighting for their jobs — they are fighting for the future of their communities and the future of steel in Wales.

“Our members will not stand by while this immensely wealthy conglomerate tries to throw Port Talbot and Llanwern on the scrapheap so it can boost its operations abroad.

“They know south Wales is ideally placed to take advantage of the coming boom in green steel — if the right choices are made.

“The strikes will go on until Tata halts its disastrous plans. Unite is backing Tata’s workers to the hilt in their historic battle to save the Welsh steel industry and give it the bright future it deserves.”

Unite Tata workers rallied in Port Talbot on Monday ahead of the start of their overtime ban and “work to rule” action. 

Senior Labour figures including shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens have urged Tata to wait for a possible Labour government next month so fresh talks can take place.

Community and GMB union members have also voted in favour of industrial action over Tata’s proposals, but are yet to announce walkouts.

Tata has been approached for comment. It has called Unite’s industrial action “unlawful,” claiming that it had offered workers “generous” redundancy packages.

It said its current operation was losing £1 million a day and was no longer financially viable, with construction work to begin on a greener electric arc furnace in August 2025 which requires far fewer staff.

Alun Davies, Community union national officer for steel, said: “Community and GMB senior officers met last week and made the decision not to schedule any industrial action before the general election has taken place.

“If the Labour Party wins the general election it has said that it will hold emergency talks with Tata on the future of Port Talbot and the downstream sites as soon as possible.

“We welcome this, and now feel it is important to wait for the completion of that process before initiating any significant course of action.”

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