Hundreds of Tata Steel workers join in protest over Chinese imports

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Tata Steel Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

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A 500-strong delegation of Tata Steel employees will join thousands of fellow steelmakers in calling for a competitive level-playing field.

Steelmakers from across Tata Steel’s European sites, including the UK, will travel to Brussels to take part in one of the biggest protest marches in the history of the European steel industry on Monday.

The demonstration of workers and executives has been organised following a severe downturn in the price of steel caused by a flood imports into Europe.

Chinese steel shipments into Europe leapt more than 50% last year, while imports from Russia and South Korea jumped 25% and 30% respectively.

More than 5,000 European steelmakers will gather for the unprecedented demonstration with leaders of steel companies, including Karl Koehler, the European chief executive of Tata Steel, which runs an operation in Hartlepool.

He said: “The situation facing Tata Steel and other European steel makers today is perilous.

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

“We are not asking for special treatment. Instead, 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.”

Last month, Tata plans to shed 1,050 jobs including 62 out of a 500-strong workforce at its plant in Brenda Road.