Energy March and rally to support Dalzell and Clydebridge steel plants

March and rally to support Dalzell and Clydebridge steel plants

A Tata Steel sign is seen outside their plant in Scunthorpe northern England, October 15, 2014.
A Tata Steel.

Supporters of the two threatened Scottish steel plants are due to march in Motherwell later.

The event is being organised by trade unionists, councillors, Labour Party members, and MSPs

They are calling for action by the Scottish and UK governments to protect the industry and its jobs.

The marchers will assemble at 10:30 and set off at 11:00 from the Dalzell works, heading to Ravenscraig for a rally.

Up to 270 jobs could be lost after Tata Steel announced plans to mothball the plants along with 900 posts at the firm’s facility in Scunthorpe.

A total of 225 jobs are threatened at the Dalzell plate-rolling works in Motherwell, along with 45 posts at the Clydebridge plant in Cambuslang.

The company blames cheap Chinese imports and high energy costs for a collapse in steel prices. The Scottish government has assembled a taskforce to try to guarantee a future for the plants.

Community union representative Derek Fearon said: “We are trying to raise awareness of the campaign, and hopefully through this Tata will become a responsible seller.

“The main aim of the taskforce, the priority of it, is for the two plants to remain open.

“The mood is upbeat, the guys are still positive that everything can be done for the two plants to be saved.”

The Scottish government has pledged to do everything possible to keep the plants operational, with its preferred option being to find a buyer.

However, ministers have not ruled out moves to bring both facilities under public ownership.

A Scottish Steel Task Force, chaired by business minister Fergus Ewing, and including representatives from trade unions and Tata, as well as local councils, met last week to discuss the way forward.

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland, himself a former steelworker, has welcomed the creation of the task force and called for all avenues to be explored to keep the plants open.

He said: “The starting point for the Scottish Task Force should be saving the steel plants and all the jobs, not softening the blow.

“We should not meekly accept the annihilation of the Scottish steel industry. We don’t want consolation measures such as retraining for other jobs that don’t exist. There are other options that will protect the industry and its jobs.

“I believe Scottish steel can have a future, and we must consider all the options to achieve that, including public ownership, which doesn’t rely on Westminster anymore.”