Sajid Javid will travel to Port Talbot on Friday to reassure steelworkers that the government is “on their side” amid intense criticism of his handling of the crisis.
The business secretary cut short a trip to Australia to return to the UK after Tata announced its decision to sell its UK operation.
Mr Javid, who has faced calls to quit, said he will tell workers that “all ministerial, official and diplomatic levers” will be used to secure a solution and save the industry.
He will also meet unions, MPs and members of the Welsh government to discuss a plan to find a buyer for the beleaguered plant.
Speaking ahead of his visit, Mr Javid said:
I’m going to Port Talbot to meet staff and management, who are understandably extremely anxious about their future.
I will listen to them, and I want to reassure them myself that the government is on their side in working hard to achieve a long-term solution for them, for the region, and for the wider UK steel industry.
Whilst we can’t change the status of the global steel market, we can and are playing a positive role in securing a sustainable future.
– Business secretary Sajid Javid
Commenting ahead of Sajid Javid’s visit to Port Talbot, a spokesperson for the steelworkers’ union Community said:
Steelworkers across the country will be shocked that it has taken this long for the government to finally wake up to the crisis facing our steel industry. Community, the steelworkers’ union, has always been keen to work constructively with government, but Sajid Javid cannot simply arrive at Port Talbot and read out his list of “achievements” – this week’s news is proof that government action thus far has been woefully inadequate.
The government must commit to safeguarding the skills and assets of Britain’s steel industry. The UK simply cannot afford to lose our steel making capacity.
Once again, we call on the Prime Minister to meet urgently with Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the steelworkers’ union, to help secure a long term, profitable future for our steel industry.
– Community spokesperson