Union fear over steel plant sale

John Pentland with 'Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale on a visit to the Dalzell works
John Pentland with 'Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale on a visit to the Dalzell works

The Community trade union has doubts the prospective new owners are interested in an operational Dalzell steelworks.

Greybull Capital has entered into exclusive negotiations to buy Tata Steel’s Long Products division which includes the Motherwell plate mill.

However, Dazell and the Clydebridge works in Cambuslang are currently mothballed with 270 jobs left in limbo and the union doesn’t expect that to change under new ownership.

A Community spokesman said: “Tata Steel’s announcement that the Dalzell and Clydebridge mills are in scope for the potential sale of Long Products to Greybull does not mean their future has been secured.

“Tata announced their intention to mothball the Scottish mills and pull out of the steel plates market long before any bids to acquire long products were submitted.

“Therefore the business model Tata presented to investors did not include a future in plates, and the possible sale to Greybull does not solve the problem.

“Seventy steelworkers were made redundant from the Scottish mills last week and many more are set to leave the business in January.

“It is imperative that the Scottish Government’s Task Force redoubles their efforts to secure a sustainable future for Dalzell and Clydebridge and ensure that the skills and assets are preserved until a buyer can be found.”

The Scottish Government has announced a £195,000 support package for the Dalzell and Clydebridge works.

The move will see an unspecified number of staff paid 60 per cent of gross salary and receive advanced training to ensure the plants can reopen quickly.

However, Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland stated it was merely a token gesture.

He said: “The First Minister insisted no stone would be left unturned in pursuit of securing the future of the Scottish steel industry.

“Unfortunately, instead we get a token gesture that leaves quite a few stones unturned. No buyer identified, workers laid off, others on 60 per cent wages, and no sign of anything being done to take plants into public ownership.

“The Scottish Government may talk about ambition and optimism, but unless they produce a more convincing strategy, backed up by concrete actions, then all their talk will be seen as hollow rhetoric.”