Tata Steel exploring ‘green’ strategy in UK. It is planning to replace two of its blast furnaces at its Port Talbot steelworks in Wales with electric arc furnaces. Some media reports say that these are plans for extracting a big amount of money from the UK government, under their coronavirus bailout funds.
Project Birch fund was set up by the UK government to help big, strategically important companies that have been highly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Tata Steel is trying to get financial help from this scheme for the transformation of furnaces. According to the plan put forth by Tata, the start will invest alongside Tata for the project. The project i.e. the conversion of furnaces is planned to start in 2025. The proposal is now studied by the business department of the UK government, according to reports. The ministers have some conditions for providing money through Project Birch. Firstly, it should contribute in achieving the goal of the country for zero net carbon emissions by 2050. And secondly, that jobs should not be lost.
Decision not consulted with workers
However, Tata steel going green in UK has left workers’ union with insecurities. They’re concerned that these changes could lead to mass unemployment. As the electric furnaces require much less workers than the blast furnaces. Situations will be worse if the blast furnaces at Port Talbot are not kept working while their replacements are built. It will take two years to built an electric arc furnace.
According to the statement of steelworkers’ union community, the company has not consulted with the workforce about these plans. Workers consider this an absolute disgrace.
The company says it is in constant planning with the government for a more sustainable, decarbonised footprint for the future. They also added that no confirm decisions have been made yet.
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