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Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/22030

Posted on 18 January 2016 at 15:51 GMT

Nationalise Tata to save steel jobs!

Alec Thraves, Socialist Party Wales
Lobby to save Steel jobs, October 2015, photo Scott Jones

Lobby to save Steel jobs, October 2015, photo Scott Jones   (Click to enlarge)

Wales is the latest country of the UK to feel the wind of the ongoing butchering of jobs from Tata Steel UK.

Tata steel has announced 1,050 more jobs are to be lost in its UK plants including 750 at the Port Talbot steelworks, the largest plant in the UK.

6,300 are employed directly by Tata across Wales but thousands more are indirectly affected as contractors, suppliers, local traders, etc.

Stephen Kinnock, the local Labour MP, believes job losses are necessary to try to stop Tata closing the plant completely. 'It's time for hard choices' is his rallying call, depressingly similar to his father's 'support' for the miners in South Wales!

Militant mood

However, the mood on the streets of Port Talbot was far more militant, determined and enthusiastic towards the Socialist Party's demand for nationalisation of Tata as the only guarantee of saving these well paid jobs and securing the future of the steel industry.

'We are already on our knees in Port Talbot and a blow like this would make us a ghost town' was the reaction of one local shop keeper, reflecting the knock on effect it would have.

A young, redundant contactor from the steel works said that he now has to travel hundreds of miles a week to his new job because 'there is nothing left in this area'!

Those who were unsurprisingly cynical about the prospect of a Tory government or even the Welsh Labour government nationalising steel were reminded that the Heath Tory government in the 1970s was forced into nationalising Rolls Royce to save that icon of British manufacturing industry. And more recently the Welsh Labour government effectively nationalised Cardiff International Airport when it bought it out for 52 million in 2013.

Welsh steel workers will correctly demand the same action from the Welsh government to protect the far more important steel industry and the local communities that depend on it.

Port Talbot town centre with its grim, rundown, depressing appearance reflects the demise of mining, the contraction of steelworkers' jobs from a peak of 12,500 to just a few thousand now and a Labour-controlled council which is the most enthusiastic in Wales for cutting jobs and services.

A campaign for the socialist nationalisation of steel would inspire steel workers and residents alike and offer hope to those consistently let down by right-wing local politicians and trade union leaders.


Extract from a Socialist Party Wales press release 18.01.16

A Facebook page calling for the nationalisation of Tata in order to stop the job losses at Port Talbot and other sites has attracted over 2,500 "likes" in a single day.

https://www.facebook.com/NationaliseTATA/

The page was set up by Socialist Party Wales members and calls for the "Socialist nationalisation" of Tata, with Welsh sites being run jointly by local workers, the unions and the Assembly government.

The Socialist Party has called a protest in support of nationalisation at 12pm this Saturday 23rd January on Station Road in Port Talbot.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 18 January 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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