Port Talbot Steelworks. Photo: Phil Beard/CC
Port Talbot Steelworks. Photo: Phil Beard/CC

Steel – nationalise to save industry “a whisker away from collapse”

Unite the Union has said that the UK steel industry is “a whisker away from collapse”. And now there is a stand-off between the steel companies and the Tory government, affecting over 30,000 that work in the industry.

In its heyday in the 1970s, the British steel industry employed 320,000 workers. Almost 300,000 well-paid, skilled, industrial jobs have disappeared since the 1970s.

Now there is a funding gap of hundreds of millions of pounds to maintain what remains of the industry. And the Tory government is only offering bailouts for steel companies on the condition that they decarbonise and introduce more sustainable technology and practices. But Tory privatisation removed state power to direct industry practices.

Why have these corporations been allowed to get away with extracting profits while consistently failing to sustain industries that were privatised, only surviving by falling back on state handouts?

Only with state-owned industry, democratically controlled by the working class, can we create an environmentally sustainable steel industry, with well-paid, skilled jobs – and other industries of the like.

Dean Young, Liverpool

Learning about strikes

I try to speak honestly with my children about current events. Recently we’ve been speaking about teachers going on strike, and the upcoming dates of action. I have explained that it is everyone’s right to decide whether or not they want to go on strike and that should be respected, and the reasons why someone might make their decision either way.

If I’m being honest I didn’t think they were really listening to me, past the “you may have to have a day off school” part. However it turns out after a word from a teacher at my daughter’s school that my daughter and her friend ran up to them at breaktime asking how much teachers get paid, is that enough for the work they do, and will they be going on strike. The interest, understanding and empathy from these two nine-year-olds has made me very proud!