The Mirror

Britain’s largest steelworks is at risk of closure with thousands of jobs at stake.

Union leaders and local politicians are calling for bosses Tata to come up with an urgent rescue plan for Port Talbot, warning: “It is 10 minutes to midnight.”

The plant in South Wales is the country’s biggest steel plant, employing 4,500 people and thousands more in the supply chain.

Closing the site would be a hammer blow for the UK’s beleaguered steel industry which has lost thousands of workers in the last three months.

Union leaders at Port Talbot are urging the management to come forward with an emergency plan to save the plant, which is reportedly losing £1million a week.

The steel industry has been struggling because of high energy costs, a downturn in the global market and the dumping by China of cheap exports.

There are now fears Port Talbot could follow Scunthorpe, where Tata is cutting 1,200 staff, and Redcar where SSI shut the plant with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

The Mirror’s Save Our Steel campaign is demanding action on Chinese dumping, help with energy costs and the Government to promote a buy-British policy.

Alan Coombs of the Community union said they would work with Tata to try to save the Port Talbot site.

“At the end of the day there is loads of cost cutting we would look at for the survival of the industry but we don’t have the information in front of us,” he told the Mirror.

“If we could see a plan then we could work together to achieve that plan but at the moment there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”

Mr Coombs said the majority of the 4,500 jobs at Port Talbot could be at risk “if not all of them”.

He added: “We are hoping the management will have some form of proposal but at the moment there’s still nothing which has come forward which is very frustrating and worrying.

“It seems the prize of our survival is getting further and further away. I am very worried about the future of Port Talbot.

“Everybody realises the position we are in is not sustainable so we need a plan we can get behind and support.”

Local MP Stephen Kinnock said: “It is 10 minutes to midnight for the British steel industry, and for the Port Talbot works.

“It’s now time for Tata Steel, the workforce, the trade unions and the government to pull together, take the hard choices that have to be taken, and to come up with a turn-around plan.

“It will be painful, but the alternatives are too terrible to contemplate.

“Families, households and entire communities across South Wales depend on the Port Talbot works.”

The Aberavon MP said the steel works were the “pride of the town”.

“It’s created a real sense of community and pride in the town. Port Talbot makes the most high end steel in the country which is used by in our tanks and armoured vehicles.

“Chinese steel keeps getting dumped and the more we see a slump in China, the worse that is for us.

“The steel works employs more than 4,000 people but there another 12,000 jobs in the supply chains. The entire Swansea Bay region would be affected. This is part of our community and a leading part of our economy,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Tata said: “We have no announcement to make at present.”

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