Steel bosses head to Brussels to demonstrate

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Hundreds of workers from the UK are demonstrating in Brussels against cheap Chinese steel imports…

British steel company bosses are joining thousands of steelworkers from across Europe to protest against what they describe as a “perilous” situation.

The protesters aim to press the European Commission over the issue of cheap Chinese steel, which they say is being “dumped” across Europe.

Among the protesters will be the chief executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, Karl Koehler, who will march alongside workers from UK plants, including Port Talbot, South Wales where hundreds of jobs are set to be cut.

Koehler said: “The situation facing Tata Steel and other European steelmakers is perilous.

“If the European Commission does not take immediate and robust action, thousands of jobs in the industry, and many more thousands in the wider supply chain, will be threatened.

“We are not asking for special treatment – we are asking for the European Commission to stand up for fair trade and to give European steelmakers a chance to compete on a level playing field.”

Tata Steel is expected to lose some 1,050 jobs, with 750 set to be axed from the Port Talbot plants.

Business minister Anna Soubry argued the government was “taking action on energy costs, public procurement and industrial emissions” but said it is “a global problem requiring a global solution”.

However, GMB national officer Dave Hulse said little was being done to tackle the problem.

“The European Commission has done next to nothing to save steel jobs.

“The commission is now directly responsible for bringing more misery to an industry that has been rocked with job losses and communities being destroyed.

“We need the Prime Minister to get off the fence and forcefully tell Brussels that toothless action will do nothing whatsoever to assist the UK steel industry.

“For example the Commission’s own investigations of Chinese exports showed a dumping margin of more than 60% on reinforcement steel bar used in the construction industry.

“The EU decision last week to impose a duty between 9.2% and 13% on dumped Chinese rebar demonstrates that Brussels is either sleep walking or deliberately allowing the destruction of the UK steel industry.

“This once again demonstrates that market economy status should not be granted to the Chinese But we all know Cameron has different views on that. If action is not taken to increase the duties then it leaves the whole of the industry at risk.

“This failure by EU politicians to act to stop to stop the dumping of Chinese steel from a country that is not a market economy is intolerable. This why GMB members will be protesting in Brussels on 15th February outside the next EU talking shop to demand action not endless meetings.”

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