UK steelworkers will be in Brussels today urging the business secretary to take urgent action to save jobs in their crisis-hit industry.
Workers from the UK, Belgium and France will demonstrate outside an emergency meeting of the EU council of ministers.
Sajid Javid and his European counterparts will be pressed to help stop the dumping of cheap Chinese steel, one of the issues which has been blamed by companies which have announced thousands of job losses.
Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “Hiding behind the EU as an excuse to do nothing will not wash with the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihoods depend on steelmaking in the UK.
“The business secretary needs to secure urgent action from the meeting to tackle the dumping of cheap Chinese steel and high energy costs.
“Nothing should be off the table, including a refusal to grant China market economy status while it fails to abide by EU rules on fair trade.
“Sajid Javid also needs to use the opportunity to learn from his counterparts in countries such as Germany and Italy and follow their lead in developing an industrial strategy with steel at its heart.
“Anything less and the continued failure by ministers to urgently intervene to support UK steel will push the crisis hit industry into meltdown.”
A Business Department spokesman said: “The Secretary of State requested Monday’s meeting of the Competitiveness Council to put the difficulties felt by the steel industry both at home in the UK and across the continent high up on the European agenda.”
David Hulse, GMB national officer, said: “GMB will be attending the rally in Brussels tomorrow to impress on the EU Council of Ministers the urgency of problems in the steel industry.
“We will be joined by union members in other member states facing the same problems.”
Hartlepool and the Tees Valley has been affected by cutbacks in the steel industry.
The Caparo forge in Hartlepool had 79 workers made redundant at the end of October, with a further 13 expected to follow soon.
Cutbacks have also been seen at Tata Steel nationally and at SSI in Redcar. where 2,200 jobs were lost.