Chanting “Save Our Steel” as they walked past Parliament, the message was clear - step in and secure the future of not only thousands of jobs, but our industrial heritage,
The march was held as Tata Steel continued to consider bids for its UK business.
Firms from the UK, India, China and the United States have expressed an interest in buying the UK assets of Tata Steel, with the deadline for bids closing last Monday.
The future of plants in Rotherham, Stocksbridge and Redcar as well as the Port Talbot steelworks in South Wales is currently up in the air as Tata aims to find a buyer for the business, which is losing £1m a day following a collapse in the price of steel products.
Earlier today, as workers gathered in the capital, Tata chief executive Koushik Chatterjee told a news conference in Mumbai that the company had identified short-listed bidders, but they needed to be evaluated. He would not give a rundown of the firms which have made bids, but said some had sought clarifications.
The management buyout team bidding to purchase the UK assets has made it clear it is working alone rather than in conjunction with another group.
Mr Chatterjee said the board will consider the next step and how the bids stack up in terms of ranking.
He said Tata continued to work closely with the UK government. Business secretary Sajid Javid has travelled to Mumbai to meet Tata officials, while Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones is also in the city talking to the company in a sign of how important steel is to Wales.
Mr Chatterjee said: “We are running a credible process, working with the Government. Each step has been done with a lot of careful consideration. We need to consider these bids, understand who wants what, and how, and understand the implications for Tata.”
Tata will engage with the bidders “in due course”, said Mr Chatterjee, adding: “It is not done until it is done.”
He maintained that good progress was being made and insisted Tata did not want to delay the process.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined the workers’ march and said his party was doing everything it could to support the steel industry.
“We have to secure enough time to make sure the industry has a future. The industry is strong and the workers are incredibly skilled. It cannot be allowed to go to the wall.”
The march was organised by unions GMB, Community and Unite. GMB said members from Rotherham, Scunthorpe and Teeside were among those in London.
Dave Hulse, of the GMB, said: “This march was an opportunity for all unions to send a clear message that we need a long term strategy to support our industry and safeguard vital jobs.
“We expect Tata to sell to a responsible buyer, in it for the long term. We don’t want to be back in this position in 12 months’ time.”
Unite leader Len McCluskey said: “Nothing has been resolved yet, but the strong campaigning from the workforce has at least made the Government think again and now have a much more positive approach.
“The fact that the Government is prepared to invest 25 per cent in the business should give confidence to potential bidders - and it might even result in Tata reversing its original decision.
“We await the news from Tata, but our fight goes on to secure the steel industry for the sake of manufacturing and the country’s industrial strategy.”