Scotland’s First Minister has given steel workers in Lanarkshire her “absolute guarantee” she will do everything in her power to secure the future of two plants earmarked for closure.
Nicola Sturgeon met with workers and management at Tata’s Scottish sites, Dalzell in Motherwell and Clydebridge in Cambuslang, today.
The company confirmed earlier this week that 270 jobs will go at the plants. The sites will be mothballed, with 900 jobs also going at its plant in Scunthorpe.
During her visit, Ms Sturgeon and Tata agreed the firm will work with the Scottish Government’s taskforce to find a new commercial operator that could ensure the jobs are retained.
She also confirmed the taskforce will consider wider support for the workforce and announced modern apprentices employed on site will have their off-the-job training guaranteed should there be a gap in their employment.
Ms Sturgeon said business minister Fergus Ewing, who is leading the taskforce, will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the steel industry when MSPs return after October recess.
Speaking after her visit to Dalzell, she said: “I’m not making empty promises to the workforce, they deserve honesty and frankness, and that’s what they will get from me, but I am giving them an absolute guarantee that we will do everything in our power to secure the future of these plants.”
She added: “The quality of the work done at these sites is outstanding and it is clear that all of the workers have a great deal of pride in what they do.
“During my visit, I was struck by the determination of everyone on site to keep these plants open and I was able to reassure them that the Scottish Government will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to help them do that.
“The taskforce I announced earlier this week is an important starting point in those efforts. It will bring together a range of people, including unions, local authorities, politicians and other agencies to focus on identifying new owners, maintaining the operation and retaining the highly-skilled jobs in Dalzell and Clydebridge.
“I am delighted that we have been able to agree with the company today that they will support the Scottish Government to try and find a buyer.”
She added: “I firmly believe that there is a future for steel manufacturing in Scotland and nothing I have seen today has diminished that opinion.
“Together with the workforce, unions and others, the Scottish Government will continue to take every action to secure the future of this industry.”