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‘We want to work’: Tata Steel workers protest over proposed cuts



HUNDREDS of people have taken part demonstrations against the anticipated elimination of numerous positions within the steel sector.

Tata Steel has announced that 2,423 jobs throughout the United Kingdom are in jeopardy, with the largest impact felt in Port Talbot, where 1,929 jobs are threatened out of a workforce of 3,859.

A senior executive at Tata said that a significant portion of the operations at Port Talbot are nearing obsolescence, resulting in daily financial losses amounting to £1.7 million.

In anticipation of a rally in Port Talbot, employees from the Llanwern facility organised a march through the heart of Newport on Saturday (Feb 17).

Tata Steel’s Llanwern site employs 917 individuals, with 113 positions facing potential cuts. Approximately 500 participants joined the march, signaling widespread concern over the job losses.

Community General Secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “Today showed that Port Talbot, Newport and South Wales – steelworkers, politicians, local businesses and community groups – are united in opposing Tata’s bad deal for steel, which would be disastrous not just for communities here which have been built on steel, but for the UK as a whole. Make no mistake about it, what the company are proposing is bad for jobs, bad for our economy, bad for our environment and bad for national security. As the steelworkers’ union, we’ll do everything we can in our power to stand up against Tata and the UK Government’s plan, including the last resort of industrial action as we set out yesterday. 

“This could all be avoided if the company showed some willingness to get back around the table, and to look again at the credible Multi Union Plan which is supported by industry experts, the Labour Party and MSs across the political divide in the Senedd. It sets out a pathway to decarbonise our industry in a just, sustainable way – not just opting for the cheapest option on the table and offshoring carbon emissions as the Tata plan does. It also avoids compulsory redundancies, and ensures the UK keeps its primary steelmaking capacity which, in an increasingly uncertain world, has never been more important.”

“Today’s rallies in Port Talbot and Newport showed that the people of South Wales value and support our steelworkers. Now we need the government and Tata to show the same commitment before it is too late. There is so much at stake here, and the weeks and months ahead are absolutely critical for our industry, our steel communities, and the country as a whole. We need our steel.”

Alan Coombs, Chair of the Multi-Union Committee at Port Talbot steelworks, said: “Steelworkers at Port Talbot are proud of our industry, and we are proud of our community which has come out in such a strong show of support for us today. These are uncertain times, and many of us are anxious about what lies ahead for Port Talbot. One thing is certain though – steelworkers will fight tooth and nail for the future of our industry and our livelihoods. 

“And when we fight, it isn’t just for workers like myself who have enjoyed long careers at the works: we are thinking just as much about the many apprentices and young workers who are just starting out on their own path and learning a skilled trade in a sector which should be at the cutting edge of innovation. Tata’s half-baked plan is taking away their futures, and completely undermining the future of an industry which will be absolutely essential if we want to transition to a greener economy. 

“Today was a reminder to the company that we won’t stand for it, and neither will our steel communities. This is just the beginning for us, and all options are on the table going forward as set out by Community steel reps yesterday. Tata need to change course now and get behind the Multi-Union Plan to save our industry before it is too late.”

Reg Gutteridge, Chair of the Multi-Union Committee at Llanwern steelworks, said: “Wherever you go in Gwent you will meet someone with a connection to the steel industry – from those who worked or had loved ones employed at sites like Pontymister, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar or Orb which are sadly no longer with us, or those with a connection to the proud workforce at Llanwern today. Llanwern has always been a hub for skilled and well-paid local employment in our area, and is still at the cutting edge of steel technology. 

“For example our Zodiac line is one of the best processors of high-quality automotive steel anywhere in the world. Under Tata’s bad deal for steel, the Zodiac line – and ultimately, our entire steel industry – would be reliant on imports from heavy-polluting countries overseas. That shows clearly that the company aren’t thinking about the environment at all. This is all about cutting costs and opting for the cheapest possible option available to them, and it’s shameful that the Conservative Government are propping up this agenda with taxpayer money.

“Today’s march in Newport was our way of sending a message to Tata and the government – we won’t back down when it comes to protecting our jobs, our industry, and our steel communities. It was great to have so much support and encouragement from the public today, and we know that the people of South Wales will stand with us in these challenging times. We need our steel, and it’s high-time that Tata reconsidered their destructive, discredited plans and backed the Multi-Union Plan.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We recognise that this is a concerning time for Tata’s employees at Port Talbot and we will continue to support staff affected by the transition.

“The UK Government has put in place one of the biggest support packages in history, with a £500 million grant as part of the £1.25 billion commitment by Tata to secure the future of the Welsh steel industry.

“Additionally, £100 million has been put towards the creation of a Transition Board – £80 million from the UK government and £20 million from Tata Steel. The Board is chaired by the Secretary of State for Wales, to directly support those affected.

“This record level of support shows just how much the UK Government values the Welsh steel industry and the people and communities whose livelihoods depend on it.”


Plans for new Pembrokeshire ‘staycation’ dog daycare kennel



A RESUBMITTED scheme for a twice-refused south Pembrokeshire dog boarding and day care centre, later dismissed on appeal, has been lodged with county planners.

Michelle Surname Bramwell, of Little Langdon, near Kilgetty, has resubmitted re-sited plans for a commercial dog boarding and day care centre with upgrade to access, parking and ecological enhancements at Little Langdon following the previously-refused application and appeal.

Kilgetty-Begelly Community Council support the application but asked for conditions relating to the access and increase in traffic at times be considered.

A supporting statement by agent Hayston Developments & Planning Ltd said: “Two previous applications to establish such a facility have recently been refused by the council with the latter application having also been dismissed at appeal in October 2023.

“In dismissing the appeal, although the Inspector concluded that such a business in this location could be acceptable in principle, the Inspector expressed concerns over the scale, siting and visual impact of the proposed development and how possible outdoor noise disturbance from associated activities could be satisfactorily controlled, such as through mitigation measures.

“This further application seeks to fully address the concerns expressed by both the council and the appeal Inspector. Therefore, significant revisions have been made to the layout and design details of the proposed development.”

Key changes include re-siting the development away from the lane, changes to the appearance, a reduction in size, and planting and landscaping, said Hayston.

It added: “One of the key benefits of such a proposal, as fully acknowledged by the appeal Inspector, was that with the proximity of several local visitor attractions it would provide a useful service to their customers, amongst other clients.

“As part of the appeal application, it was contended that with staycation on the rise and the increase in pet ownership, boarding kennels and day care services are in demand.

“The proposal would allow tourists to visit, knowing their dogs can board within a reasonable distance of their holiday accommodation. It would allow tourists to visit nearby attractions which quite often have no-pets policies, such as Oakwood, Manor Wildlife Park, the Dinosaur Park, Heatherton and Folly Farm.

“Further, there is a B & B facility at Langdon Farm Guest House located a short distance to the south of the application property which has a no pet policy.

“In our view, the establishment of this boarding kennels and day care facility would only benefit the economy of the local area.”

Hayston said that support for the application had been received from local holiday businesses including Celtic Holiday Parks, Reynalton; Hill Park Caravans, Pentlepoir; Stone Pitt Holiday Park, Begelly; and Langdon Guest house nearby.

The application will be considered by county planners at a later date.

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Milford Waterfront major events partnership with Round Table



FOLLOWING on from its successful partnership in 2023, Milford Waterfront is supporting Milford Haven Round Table as its Major Events Partner this year.

The partnership means that the group of local volunteers will be supported in their calendar of events throughout the year, which will enable them to raise funds for local good causes, as well as creating fantastic events for visitors and the local community to enjoy.

Upcoming events this year include:

  • The Big Beer Festival – Saturday 25th May
  • Milford Haven Carnival – Saturday 6th July
  • Fireworks Extravaganza Event – Tuesday 5th November

Speaking about the partnership, Natalie Hunt, Destination Manager at Milford Waterfront said: “We are very pleased to be continuing our strong partnership with the Milford Haven Round Table.

“The events they arrange for Milford Haven are always showstoppers that bring so much fun to the area. We are sure everyone will join us in our excitement to bring them back this year!”

Rob Allen, Chair of the Milford Haven Round Table added: “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Milford Waterfront for their unwavering support of Milford Haven Round Table. Their commitment to community involvement enriches our events and fosters stronger connections within Milford Haven.

“We eagerly anticipate collaborating with them on future endeavors to further enhance our community together.”

Former volunteers and family members of those involved in past years are especially welcomed. We look forward to seeing you.

See the website also Facebook and X for further details.

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Civil Aviation Authority highlights importance of aerospace industry in Wales



CUTTING-EDGE technology, aircraft maintenance advancements, and pioneering aircraft recycling initiatives were seen by the UK Civil Aviation Authority as part of its engagement in Wales this week.

The visit by the regulator’s Chair Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief Executive Rob Bishton, and the UK Civil Aviation Authority Board highlights the pivotal role Wales plays in shaping the future of air transport safety and sustainable operations.

GE Aerospace, British Airways Maintenance, Wales Air Ambulance, and ecube were all visited as part of the two-day engagement.

The visit coincided with a Civil Aviation Authority Board meeting held in Cardiff on Wednesday, and forms part of the regulator’s commitment to strengthening ties with its stakeholders across the UK’s aviation and aerospace industry.

Sir Stephen Hillier, Chair of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

“The UK’s aerospace industry is always evolving, and the industry in Wales plays an integral role in this evolution. As the regulator, it is vital that we keep pace with the rapidly changing technologies and needs of consumers in order to support our mission of protecting people and enabling aerospace.

“Our outreach work in Wales and across the UK is more important than ever, and we continue to engage with all stakeholders across the country to make aviation safer, greener, and better for passengers and the public, both home and abroad.”

Sir Stephen, Rob Bishton, and Board members toured the engine test facility at the GE Aerospace site, which has been maintaining and overhauling Boeing and Airbus aircraft engines for more than 80 years.

The Civil Aviation Authority delegation also saw how the British Airways outfitter British Airways Maintenance engineering team are overhauling and upgrading their airline’s 777 and 787 aircraft.

In addition, the Board saw the largest air ambulance operation in the UK, Wales Air Ambulance, and ecube, a global aircraft storage, disassembly, and recycling and upcycling company, visited as part of the Civil Aviation Authority’s commitment to a greener future in aviation.

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