Protest demands Nationalise Tata

Movement needed to force the government

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Hundreds marched through Port Talbot today in a protest called by the National Shop Stewards Network to demand the nationalisation of Tata Steel.

Everyone in Port Talbot understands that the next few weeks will determine the future not just of the steelworks but of the whole community. Tata's announcement that it intends to sell its steel assets in a period of weeks, not months, means that there is an urgent need to force the government to act.

The Tories claim to be doing "everything we can" to save steel rings hollow when it has transpired that the British government were the leading force in blocking EU tariffs that would have protected British steel. The government's strategy is based on going through the motions of finding a buyer, but any buyers will not buy the whole plant that is currently losing £1m a day. At best it will strip the plant of its most valuable assets.

Rob Williams, National Chair of the National Shop Stewards Network, speaking at the rally in Port Talbot, explained that is why Tata Steel should be nationalised immediately by the government. "People remember that the Tories were quick enough to support the bail out when the banks were nationalised in 2008. Now whole communities and the future of manufacturing industry in the UK is at stake and nationalisation is the only way to save them.

"62% support nationalisation in a recent opinion poll outnumbering opponents by more than 3-1. But public support is not enough. It must be mobilised by the labour movement to force this weak and divided government to act and even begin a movement to bring it down".

Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru also spoke and supported the "temporary nationalisation" of Tata. But how can nationalisation be temporary? Only if the steel industry, steel distribution and steel procurement for publicly-funded projects is put under democratic control can the steel industry be protected in the UK.


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