RESPONDING to the news of the closure of the Orb Electrical Steels base in Newport, Plaid Cymru shadow minister for the economy Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said,
“This really is devastating news for the workforce and their families, and its terrible news for steel-making and the wider economy of Wales. Orb is a specialist steel maker, which could be a major contributor to potential emerging industries in Wales including renewable energy and electric vehicle production.
“I’ve repeatedly called for a major summit on Wales’s economic future. This is further evidence of why it’s more important than ever to have the clearest possible focus on the threats facing us, and the opportunities that need to be sought out at this time of unprecedented uncertainty.”
“Plaid Cymru is asking Welsh and UK Governments to investigate all possible interventions – from joint investment to even taking it into public ownership, such is the importance of keeping this specialist capability.”
Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for South Wales East Delyth Jewell added,
“This is terrible news for the committed steelworkers and my heart goes out to all affected by today’s announcement. The Welsh Government needs to do all it can to try to save these jobs and should consider taking the plant into public ownership, as the specialist products the plant produces could play an important role in the development of the strategically vital renewables sector in Wales.
“They should also demand an immediate top-level meeting with Tata chiefs in order to press on them their responsibility to uphold prior commitments they’ve made to their workforce, since it was only last year that workers agreed to accept less generous pensions provisions in exchange for a guarantee they could keep their jobs. While I understand that workers will be offered a chance to relocate, this simply isn’t possible for many who have deep roots in the area and lack the financial means to uproot their lives at short notice.
“There are questions to be raised once again about how the Welsh Government appears to have been caught unaware by an announcement of job losses within the manufacturing sector in Wales, and I will be asking for an explanation from the Economy Minister about what he’s been doing to try to protect these jobs over the past few months.”