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Around 1,500 Tata steelworkers based in Port Talbot and Newport Llanwen in South Wales will begin a continuous overtime ban and “work to rule” - meaning refusing to do work that is optional in their contracts.

It is the first time in 40 years that there has been industrial action in the UK steel industry.

Unite union said the industrial action will severely disrupt and delay Tata’s operations and order book.

Tata Steel says the industrial action was “unlawful” and it had given workers “generous” redundancy packages.

Members of Unite held a rally on Monday evening outside the entrance in Port Talbot - the UK’s largest steelworkers. Around 100 steelworkers, who are Unite union members, were joined by extinction rebellion campaigners.

A new £1.25billion electric arc furnace, which melts scrap steel, will begin construction in Port Talbot in the summer of 2025. The UK Government is contributing £500million towards its costs.

The Government said without its financial support, including investing in skills and jobs for the staff affected, “many thousands more jobs would have been lost in Port Talbot and in the wider supply chain”.

Ian Williams from the Unite Union who’s worked in the steel industry in South Wales for 24 years says for a number of years we’ve heard that they lose £1million a day.

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He added: “When you look at the company financials, it’s quite clear that this company is awash with money.

“You know, they’ve got reserves of over a billion pounds back in India and it’s the underinvestment ever since they took us over in 2008 that’s caused the situation we are in now.”

When asked whether the Union would continue industrial action he said: “We will look as we go through this campaign and through this action how we escalate that. I think everything the company has tried to bully or threaten our members, has only hardened our resolve to fight, and we will fight for the best thing for all members, for our communities and the families that are affected by this.”

Tata says their ambitions are to improve the current business model which is “unsustainable”, and described the investment from the government as “critical”.

They said: “By restructuring our UK operations we will be able to sustain the business as we transition to new electric arc furnace technology,” according to a spokesperson.Labour has told Tata to delay closing its blast furnaces until after the General Election and to wait for its £3billion steel investment fund.Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata’s workers are taking this industrial action because they know the company’s claim that jobs cannot be retained in South Wales during the transition to green still is a lie.“They are standing up and fighting for a better future, one in which Tata’s British business can take full advantage of the coming green steel boom and not be sacrificed to benefit its operations abroad.“The current Government have backed Tata’s disastrous deal for Britain without even getting any job guarantees. But in less than a month, Tata will almost certainly be dealing with a new political reality.”It’s expected that around 2,800 Tata Steel workers will lose their jobs when the company closes both blast furnaces in Port Talbot by the end of September.

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