Steel firm bosses will march in Brussels today

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

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Steel company bosses will join thousands of steelworkers in a huge demonstration in Brussels tomorrow calling for urgent action to help their crisis-hit industry.

Hundreds of workers from the UK will be among those pressing for the European Commission to tackle cheap Chinese steel being “dumped” across Europe.

The issue has resulted in the closure of steel mills across the country including in Teessdie with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, will march alongside workers from his company’s plants in the UK, including Port Talbot in south Wales where hundreds of jobs are being axed.

He said: “The situation facing Tata Steel and other European steelmakers is perilous.

“If the European Commission does not take immediate and robust action, thousands of jobs in the industry, and many more thousands in the wider supply chain, will be threatened.

“We are not asking for special treatment - we are asking for the European Commission to stand up for fair trade and to give European steelmakers a chance to compete on a level playing field. “

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “We are taking action on energy costs, public procurement and industrial emissions at home to help the steel sector but this is a global problem requiring a global solution. This conference was convened thanks to UK efforts. We are working with other EU governments, industry leaders and trade unions to stress to the European Commission the need for swifter investigations into dumping and the tariffs then being set at the right level.”

The Government said it was well aware of the challenges facing the steel industry and was working “tirelessly” to help.

GMB national officer Dave Hulse said: “The European Commission has done next to nothing to save steel jobs. The commission is now directly responsible for bringing more misery to an industry that has been rocked with job losses and communities being destroyed. We need the Prime Minister to get off the fence and forcefully tell Brussels that toothless action will do nothing whatsoever to assist the UK steel industry.”

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