HomeTop StoriesTata won't change its mind about job cuts, Gething says

Tata won’t change its mind about job cuts, Gething says

Tata Steel is not changing its position on its plans for thousands of job cuts, especially in Port Talbot, Prime Minister Vaughan Gething has said.

After meeting with senior executives in Mumbai, Mr Gething said that “the only way to realistically change their position is if there was another British government”.

But the Welsh Conservatives said that while British Tory ministers “put more than half a billion pounds on the table” to save jobs, “the only money the Labor Welsh government has spent on this trip is to India”.

Tata announced 2,800 job cuts in Britain in January, along with the closure of both Port Talbot blast furnaces, as part of its transition to greener steel production.

The two ovens are expected to close in September and construction of a new electric oven, which will use recycled steel, will begin in summer 2025.

With predictions that a general election could take place in October or November, or as late as January next year, Mr Gething said the poll could be too late to make any changes to Tata’s plans.

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Mr Gething said he told Tata that British Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer would most likely become the next prime minister and “made it clear that there is a different future available in terms of capital investment”.

But he said “we won’t see any change” in Tata’s plans “this side of the general election”, which he said “may come too late”.

‘Maybe all the work has already been done to dismantle that last blast furnace.

He said it was his “duty” as prime minister to “go out and fight for thousands of jobs directly within the steel mill” and avoid redundancies at Tata.

‘How can I sit at home?’

British ministers said they were supporting the steel industry with “one of the biggest support packages in history”, including a £500 million grant as it transitions to greener production.

Tory Senedd group leader Andrew RT Davies said: ‘Although the UK Government has put more than half a billion pounds on the table to save steel sector jobs in Port Talbot, the only money the Labor Welsh Government has spent on this trip to India.

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‘Vaughan Gething must stop traveling around the world to avoid his domestic problems and measure his support for our steelworkers in pounds and pence.’

Mr Gething rejected suggestions that his trip to India was “presumptuous” amid criticism at home over controversial donations to his recent Welsh Labor leadership campaign.

“How can I sit at home and not be here in Mumbai, fighting for the jobs of thousands of workers?” he said.

‘I am doing the right thing for my country, and I am proud to do so.

“It’s more important to me to do the right thing than to worry about people from the sidelines.”

Tata Port Talbot Steel Factory

The Port Talbot site, originally known as Abbey Steelworks, has been making steel since 1951 [Getty Images]

Tata CEO TV Narendran described Friday’s meeting as a “productive discussion with the new First Minister of Wales on the progress of our plans to secure the future of steel production in South Wales”.

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He said the new electric arc furnace at Port Talbot would “help protect Britain’s steel sovereignty, safeguard 5,000 jobs, support our customers and reduce CO2 emissions by five million tonnes a year”.

Mr Narendran said support, including mental health care, is being offered to employees, along with the “most generous financial support package ever offered to departing employees”.

“Tata Steel has always been a responsible, long-term and patient investor in its UK operations, and we are investing significant additional capital to ensure we create an operationally, financially and environmentally sustainable business for the future,” he added .

The GMB union called Tata’s latest redundancy offer “state-sponsored decimation of a community”.

It was announced on Thursday that members of the largest steelworkers union, Community, had voted in favor of industrial action over the restructuring.

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