Steelworkers outraged by bridge snub

Politicians and union officials have met with Tata Steel
Politicians and union officials have met with Tata Steel

WORKERS at the Dalzell Steelworks in Motherwell are up in arms over the Scottish Government overlooking them as a supplier for the new £1.5 billion Forth Road Bridge.

Transport Scotland earlier claimed no bids had been made by Scottish firms to supply steel for the project.

However, the Times & Speaker understands Tata submitted a joint bid with an English fabrication firm to supply steel from Dalzell and its sister site at Clydebridge.

A Tata Steel spokesman said: “We can confirm that we did participate indirectly in the tendering process for the new Forth Bridge contracts and that our Dalzell works is capable of supplying a significant proportion of the steel required.”

A total of £790 million in contracts to supply 37,000 tonnes of steel has instead been awarded to firms in China, Poland and Spain.

Dalzell’s Community union branch secretary Nicky Shevlin says his colleagues are outraged by the Government’s decision.

He said: “The news is filtering through to the workforce and the guys are wondering what is going on.

“Building bridges is what we do, back in the Colville days we supplied steel for the Forth Bridge, and more recently for the Øresund Bridge which connects Denmark and Sweden, so to be overlooked and even told no bid was put in is maddening.

“Pretty much every penny of the money the workforce at Dalzell received from the project would have gone back into the local or at least Scottish economy, can the same be said about the millions being sent to Shanghai?”

Mr Shevlin was among a group meeting with Tata management on Friday to discuss the sitauation which included Motherwell and Wishaw’s MP Frank Roy and MSP John Pentland and Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Michael McMahon.

Full story in February 9 edition of Times & Speaker