The steel industry and the communities built on it are on the brink—and without a real fight we risk going under completely.
Some 900 jobs are to go here at Tata Steel in Scunthorpe alone.
This will have a much bigger knock-on effect. Steel is an industry whole communities are built on, as mining once was.
For each worker directly employed at the steel works another four or five local jobs depend on it.
Other firms are already looking at layoffs or closures. This follows the disastrous closure of the SSI steel works in Redcar.
Tata also proposes to close its sites at Clydebridge and Dalzell. Now Caparo Industries is going into administration, threatening another 1,700 jobs.
But the government’s summit for steel in Rotherham on Friday of last week was little more than a talking shop.
We’ve been petitioning in Scunthorpe, and we’ve had support from other unions. We’ll need more of that solidarity when we’re campaigning this Saturday, and when we march on North Lincolnshire council on Tuesday 10 November.
But we need a nationwide fight.
All the steel unions should build a national demonstration in London for a start.
And they mustn’t take their eyes off campaigning for the state funding that is the only way to save steel jobs.
Low prices mean steel isn’t profitable for the bosses at the moment, but it’s needed for building homes, railways and windfarms.
It should be bailed out—like the banks were. It should be nationalised—as it has been in Italy.
We’re in the last chance saloon. We can’t afford not to fight.