The shock announcement by Indian company Tata to relinquish its UK assets has left the country’s steel industry reeling.
Intending to sell the giant Tata steel works in Port Talbot, South Wales, as part of the move, the Indian conglomerate has left the government in a crisis, with David Cameron heading a brief meeting of ministers in Downing Street to see how they can best handle the current catastrophe.
The Prime Minister has said the Government was doing “everything it can” to settle the steel crisis though he admitted there were “no guarantees of success”.
With tens of thousands of jobs on the line, the Prime Minister has failed to show any leadership.
Defending the manner in which the crisis had been handled, David Cameron insisted the Government’s intervention had stopped a complete closure of the Port Talbot works.
David Cameron said: “The situation at Port Talbot is of deep concern.”
He added: “Those jobs are vital to workers’ families, vital to those communities and the Government will do everything it can working with the company to try and secure the future of steelmaking in Port Talbot and across our country, it’s a vital industry.”
Roy Rickhuss, leader of the Community union, who accused ministers of doing little to lobby the Indian conglomerate before it had reached its decision to sell its British assets, said he had been left “underwhelmed” by Government’s response to the steel crisis.
He explained: “I am disappointed that the Government still has no plan for the industry but instead seems to be adding to the confusion and mixed messages that have been the state of play for the last 36 hours.
Those jobs are vital to workers’ families, vital to those communities and the Government will do everything it can.
He added: “Now, thousands of steelworkers are faced with an uncertain future as their workplaces are put up for sale.”
Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle said: “With tens of thousands of jobs on the line, the Prime Minister has failed to show any leadership and shows no sign of getting a grip of the very serious situation that has been allowed to worsen on his watch.
She added: “Steelworkers and their families who will be worried sick about their future will take little comfort from the Prime Minister’s warm words.”