Call for clarity over 'devastating' Tata losses
Welsh Conservatives have labelled reports of huge job losses at Tata’s site in Llanwern ‘shocking’ and ‘devastating’.
The Shadow Business Minister has called for an urgent Welsh government statement and guarantees that proposed mothballing at the site will be temporary.
He has also called for clarity from Labour’s First Minister, following recent significant announcements around the future of Tata in Wales.
In 2012, following a visit to India, Labour’s Carwyn Jones returned to Wales with news of an ‘800 million pounds investment’ by the company over five years. During First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd, this exchange took place:
Andrew RT Davies:
Can you give a simple answer to the next question: do you believe that Tata steel workers and their jobs are protected here in Wales by this investment?
The First Minister:
Yes, absolutely. That is exactly what I was told by Tata: the investment secures the future of Port Talbot.
(National Assembly for Wales, Record of Proceedings, Tuesday April 24th 2012)
At the time, the First Minister did not refer directly to Llanwern but, a year later, he officially opened a key operations centre in Newport and confirmed it would provide work for 200 people.
Speaking to media, he also said: ‘we highly value our very close relationship with Tata and remain committed to doing everything we can to sustain and enhance all the company's Welsh operations.’
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Business, William Graham AM, said:
“These reports are shocking and – if true – these job losses will be devastating, not just for Newport, but for the Welsh economy as a whole.
“This is a real sledgehammer blow for the families of all those affected and we now need an urgent Welsh government statement, along with clarity on whether this mothballing is temporary.
“Time and again Labour’s First Minister has trumpeted his relationship with Tata, even going so far as to claim a five year investment would sustain jobs.
“It hasn’t – and that relationship has clearly faltered significantly. Labour’s Carwyn Jones should set out exactly how he sees Tata’s future in Wales.
“All possible support must now be offered to those workers who face the threat of losing their jobs.”