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Community union's hope for new steel 'golden age'

Shanghai Luthan Comments: We still remember that Theresa May mentioned several times " golden era" during her first visit in China. Seems she has a strong feeling about the past glory of the Great Britain. Also another mission of her trip was to warn China about steel dumping.


A new "golden age of steelmaking" is still possible if there is a commitment to overcoming the challenges facing the industry, a union will argue.

Community is hosting a conference of workers, industry experts and politicians in Redcar, Teesside.

Senior executives from firms with a strong Welsh presence, including Tata, Libertyand Celsa, will be attending.

The union wants government and employers to invest in skills and technologies of the future.

The event will be held in the shadow of old SSI steelworks which closed in 2015.

More than 100 steelworkers will attend the conference, representing more than 20 different steel companies.

Business Minister Richard Harrington will speak, along with Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss.

The conference will also reflect on events in recent years, which led to Tata putting its UK operations up for sale in 2016, controversy over cheap Chinese imports and a £10bn investment deal being offered.

Last year brought the prospects of a Tata merger and a deal over pensions in exchange for the investment.

But there is concern that since market conditions have improved and talk of a crisis has ended, the UK government is less focused on the industry's future.

UK crude steel production is viewed as stable by the industry, although global production increased by 5% in 2017.

Community will maintain that the long term future of the industry, which still employs about 14,000 workers in the UK, is still a long way from being secured.

One recent UK government study said there is £3.8bn a year to be tapped into by UK steel producers by 2030 - more than half in demand from construction - if the right investment and measures are in place and if Brexit is successful.

"Rather than being a sunset industry, steel can be the productive, hi-tech foundation of Britain's post-Brexit manufacturing sector," the union said ahead of Thursday's meeting.

 

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