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Steelworkers head to Brussels with plea for jobs

Published 08/11/2015

Business Secretary Sajid Javid is meeting EU counterparts
Business Secretary Sajid Javid is meeting EU counterparts

UK steelworkers will be in Brussels tomorrow urging the business secretary to take urgent action to save jobs in their crisis-hit industry.

Workers from the UK, Belgium and France will demonstrate outside an emergency meeting of the EU council of ministers.

Sajid Javid and his European counterparts will be pressed to help stop the dumping of cheap Chinese steel, one of the issues which has been blamed by companies which have announced thousands of job losses in recent weeks.

Unite national officer Harish Patel said: "Hiding behind the EU as an excuse to do nothing will not wash with the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihoods depend on steelmaking in the UK.

"The business secretary needs to secure urgent action from tomorrow's meeting to tackle the dumping of cheap Chinese steel and high energy costs.

"Nothing should be off the table, including a refusal to grant China market economy status while it fails to abide by EU rules on fair trade.

"Sajid Javid also needs to use the opportunity to learn from his counterparts in countries such as Germany and Italy and follow their lead in developing an industrial strategy with steel at its heart.

"Anything less and the continued failure by ministers to urgently intervene to support UK steel will push the crisis hit industry into meltdown."

Unite is calling on the Government to take action to stop the dumping of cheap Chinese steel, help with high energy costs and business rates, as well as ensuring major infrastructure projects use British steel.

A Business Department spokesman said: "The Secretary of State requested Monday's meeting of the Competitiveness Council to put the difficulties felt by the steel industry both at home in the UK and across the continent high up on the European agenda."

David Hulse, GMB national officer, said: "GMB will be attending the rally in Brussels tomorrow to impress on the EU Council of Ministers the urgency of problems in the steel industry.

"We will be joined by union members in other member states facing the same problems. We want action on energy prices and on dumping. There can be no more talking shops. The EU will lose all credibility if tomorrow the meeting doesn't take action to stem the job losses."

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