Strike at Port Talbot steelworks called off

A planned strike at the Port Talbot steelworks in Wales has been suspended after progress was made in talks between Indian owner Tata and unions.

Trade union Unite said on Monday that the owners were prepared to enter into negotiations about future investment for its operations and not just redundancies.

Unite’s 1,500 members at Tata in South Wales began an overtime ban and work to rule on 17 June and were due to launch an all-out indefinite strike from 8 July. Both forms of industrial action have now been paused.

Thousands of jobs are set to be lost as the steelworks switches from fossil-fuel-powered blast furnaces to a single electric arc furnace which recycles scrap metal.

Further talks will take place after the election.

“This is a significant development in the battle to protect jobs and the long-term future of steel making in South Wales,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham. “Investment from Labour secured by Unite will be key to the future of the site.

“This breakthrough would not have come about without the courage of our members at Port Talbot and Llanwern who were prepared to stand up and fight for their jobs. Workers were simply not prepared to stand idly by while steel making ended and their communities were laid to waste.

“It is essential that these talks progress swiftly and in good faith with the focus on fresh investment and ensuring the long-term continuation of steel making in South Wales.”