There was anger at the Conservative government at the Save Our Steel rally in Sheffield, for allowing the collapse of our steel industry.
SOS speakers were Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror, Julie Dore leader of Sheffield Council, Charlotte Upton of Unite Tata Steel, Roy Rickhuss the General Secretary of steelworkers’ union, Len Mckluskey the Unite General Secretary, Alan Coombs of Community Port Talbot, Frances O’Grady of the TUC, Andy McDonald Labour MP for Middlesbourough, Tim Roach and many more!
Fantastic speeches were made by the United Steel Workers (from America) who have been locked out for 100 Days and Charlotte Upton of Unite Young Member and TATA Steel Rep.
This Saturday Unite, in conjunction with the GMB and Community the union, is hosting the ‘Save our Steel’ rally at Sheffield City Hall.
It comes amid a growing crisis in the UK’s steel industry which has seen thousands of job losses announced in recent months. In addition to the closure of SSI in Redcar and the collapse of Caparo, Tata Steel plans to cut over 1,100 jobs in Scunthorpe and Scotland on top of 700 job losses it announced earlier in the year in Rotherham and South Yorkshire.
Hosted by Kevin Maguire, associate political editor of the Daily Mirror, there will be family activities before the rally and fantastic line up including steelworkers and politicians from steel and manufacturing communities from across the UK. They will be joined by myself, Frances O’Grady general secretary of the TUC, Tim Roache, GMB general secretary elect and Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community,
Interest in the rally is building, but we need to use these remaining days to continue to promote it to our members, in their workplaces and communities. More information can be found here or by contacting campaigns and communications.
This is a time our members look to us for solidarity with their struggles and leadership in the battles ahead, please ensure that you do everything possible to make sure that Unite has strong representation at the rally and that where possible you and your colleagues make every effort to attend.
Our members will expect to see us standing by their side.
Unite on the march in Scunthorpe to Save our Steel industry today. Don’t forget you can support Charlotte and other Unite activists by attending next weeks meeting at the NUM, where Charlotte is speaking and on the 21st on the Sheffield Demonstration!
Scunthorpe: Tuesday 10th November 2015 Church Square, Rotherham. 12.00pm.
Steelworkers, their families, supporters and the community are invited to rally in Church Square. With speakers including senior union officials, MPs and special guests/
We will then march to the council offices in time to attend their meeting. Let’s get our voices heard!
Sheffield: Saturday 21st November 2015 Irwin Mitchell Oval Hall, City Hall, Sheffield, S1 2JA. 2.00 – 5.00pm
As you are aware discussions have been taking place about holding a rally to ‘Save our Steel’. Sheffield City Hall has been booked for the rally on Saturday 21 November. Over the coming days we will be seeking to firm up speakers and other guests for the rally, which is set to start at 2pm and finish at 5pm. Families will be welcome at the event, which is aimed to celebrate our steel and metal industry and send a strong message to the government to ‘Save Our Steel’. There will be speakers, music and face painting for the children.
I will update you all on speakers and promotional leaflets and posters, which are being designed and being sent to the Regional Office for distribution. In the meantime can you please get the word out to our Activists and Members. Details of transport will be provided as soon as possible.
Please make every effort to come along to City Hall Sheffield to celebrate and support the UK steel and metals industries.
Unite members in the steel industry came to Westminster to meet with labour MPs to talk about how we can save the steel industry and a wider manufacturing strategy. A strategy that this Conservative government appears not to be interested in.
This government wants to leave thousands of workers, their families and communities to the whim of the market.
The next few weeks are critical in both these battles. Listed below are some of the events which you can get involved in.
1. Wed. Oct. 28th 5.30pm – Barnsley Town Hall, Barnsley Trades Council meeting. Ian Davies, Community (steel union) Scunthorpe convenor will be coming to speak. We want to get as many as possible there to hear him. Please come and spread the word widely. [should be about 30 minutes]
2. Monday Nov. 2nd. – TUC Demo and Mass Lobby of parliament over Trade Union Bill. 5pm Barnsley protest, outside Barnsley Town Hall. Bring banners and placards.
3. Tuesday Nov. 10th. Barnsley College UCU on strike as part of a national one day strike for £1 an hour rise. Support their pickets.
Demonstration in Scunthorpe assembling from 12pm opposed to steel redundancies. (details to follow).
4. Sat. Nov. 14th. Unite the Resistance conference, London. Speakers include Ian Hodson and Matt Wrack as well as John McDonnell MP and Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party. Transport going from Barnsley leaves Eldon Street 7am. (Let me know if you want to register and get a seat on the coach).
5. Wed. Nov. 18th 7pm. Barnsley Trades Council public meeting, opposing the Tory anti-Trade Union Bill. Flyer attached. A great line-up of speakers including Steve Turner (Assistant Gen. Sec UNITE); Tosh McDonald (ASLEF National President); Jane Aitchoison (PCS and Unite the Resistance); Brian Steele, Trades Council sec.
I am an electrician at the Platemill in Scunthorpe, one of the steel mills affected by Tata’s plan to cut 1,200 jobs. Steel is in my blood, my great grandfather worked there and both my Grandma and Grandpa have worked there too. There is not a person in Scunthorpe that doesn’t know someone that is affected by cuts.
I come from a typical working class family and although I succeeded academically at school, university was never going to be an affordable option for my family, so an apprenticeship on the steelworks seemed like the perfect solution.
Scunthorpe is a steel town, everyone told me when I got my job that the steelworks was a job for life and a job that has provided a good life for many people in the town.
We know that there isn’t a magic wand to be waved that will fix all the challenges that the industry faces but we also know that there are practical things that the government can do today to make us more competitive in the market. The Prime Minister could cut business rates, lower energy costs and stop the Chinese dumping their cheap steel in our country and there is one thing you could certainly do, use British steel for British infrastructure!
The people I work with are worried about how they will pay their mortgage, how will they afford Christmas with their jobs at risk and where will they be able to find another job.