MSP wants Parliament to recognise steel workers’ contributions

CENTRAL Scotland list MSP Clare Adamson has called on the Scottish Parliament to recognise the contribution and sacrifices made by workers at Ravenscraig, Dalzell and other Scottish steel plants over the years.

Ms Adamson lodged a motion and is seeking a members’ debate to pay tribute to the contribution of steelworkers to the Scottish economy and society, attracting strong cross party support.

Ms Adamson, who is from a steelworking family, said: “It is a very special privilege for me to be in a position to highlight in the Parliament the huge contribution to Scottish life and history made by all those who have worked and still work in the Scottish steel industry.”

Her motion calls on the Parliament to recognise the efforts of Scottish steelworkers, whose work over two centuries ‘revolutionised the Scottish economy and contributed to Scotland’s long and proud international reputation for high quality iron and steelmaking’.

It also notes that the Dalziel Ironworks in Motherwell first opened in 1872 with the industry prospering over many years until the closure of Ravenscraig in 1992 and the devastating impact this had.

However Ms Adamson believes steelmaking remains a flagship industry in Scotland, through the continued contribution of Dalzell, Tata Steel (Motherwell) and Clydebridge (Cambuslang).

She also highlights the work of the Scottish Steelworkers’ Memorial
Fund which is aiming to erect a memorial to the those who lost their lives working in the industry, as exclusively revealed by the Times & Speaker last month.

Ms Adamson added:“My hope is that the memorial and the regeneration project will link the past and the future in a way that does justice to all those who have pride in the industry.”

It is proposed that a five or six metres high sculpture in galvanised steel will be situated in front of the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility featuring a steel worker emerging from billowing smoke while holding aloft a flowing ribbon of molten steel.

At the highest point of the flow of steel, a sprinting athlete will be seen powering towards the future, symbolising Lanarkshire’s regeneration and a new start.

This week Memorial Fund chairman Terry Currie, a former British Steel employee and a current deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire, broke his silence over the estimated £200,000 scheme.

He said: “The iron and steel industry revolutionised the Scottish economy and we plan to erect this memorial to pay tribute to the brave workers who faced grave danger producing the steel which allowed Britain to become the workshop of the world.

“The exact number of people who died in the Scottish steel industry has never been recorded, but the total will amount to several hundred over the decades.

“The memorial is not only in remembrance of those who died, it also honours all the workers who devoted their lives to the Scottish steel industry.”

Preliminary discussions have been held with sculptor Andy Scott.