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Tata Steel commits to transition to electric arc furnace production

Tata Steel UK's decision to transition to electric arc furnace production will impact approximately 5,000 jobs, primarily at its Port Talbot plant in south Wales

Tata Steel UK has announced its decision to proceed with a major transformation of its Port Talbot plant in south Wales, transitioning to electric arc furnace production.

This decision follows extensive discussions with trade unions and formal consultations spanning seven months.

The transition involves a £1.25 billion investment.

As part of this transformation, Tata Steel will close its existing heavy end assets, including blast furnaces No.5 and No.4, by the end of June and September, respectively.

The company plans to wind down remaining heavy end assets and close the Continuous Annealing Processing Line by March 2025.

Approximately 5,000 jobs will be affected by these changes.

The company is committed to providing extensive support to affected employees, including financial assistance, retraining programmes, and community support schemes.

Tata Steel UK’s CEO, Rajesh Nair, said: “While we have agreed to keep the Hot Strip Mill running through the transition, the unions’ plan presents significant financial, operational and safety challenges, and delays the transition to green steel by two years.

“We have concluded that it is not feasible to accept their plan, and it is not affordable.

“This is a difficult period of change for our people, and we will do our upmost to support them. Tata Steel has always been a responsible, long-term and patient investor in its UK business, and we are committing significant additional capital to ensure that we can create an operationally, financially and environmentally sustainable business for the future.”

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “These job losses would be a hammer blow to UK steel making and manufacturing and the UK economy as a whole.

 “The company must think again and get back around the table with unions.”

Community General Secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “We do not accept the company’s assertion our plan was too expensive – in fact, it would have returned the company to profits, and the additional capital expenditure needed to make it a reality could have been funded by an additional £450 million from the government – a drop in the water compared to what other European countries are investing in their domestic steel industries.”

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