Petition to back UK steel industry to be handed over at Corby's Steel Park

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The event will be held tomorrow

A 30,000 signature petition is to be handed to politicians in Corby tomorrow (Friday, April 26) urging them to support UK Steel.

Organisers say the strength of feeling sends a ‘clear message to Westminster that the UK needs a strong steel industry’.

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The petition has been drawn up by Unite as part of the campaign to secure the sector’s future and they have chosen Corby Town FC as the location to hand it over. Although Corby’s steelworks closed down 45 years ago, the town still has a tube works which is run by TATA Steel and is intrinsically linked to other sites around the country including Port Talbot, from where the Corby works gets a daily rail delivery of coiled steel.

Inside the Corby tube works in Weldon Road. Image: Kate CroninInside the Corby tube works in Weldon Road. Image: Kate Cronin
Inside the Corby tube works in Weldon Road. Image: Kate Cronin

Unite Corby branch secretary for Tata Steel, Gary Buchan, said: "Corby was built by the steel industry; the town has metal running through its DNA. There has been a presence of mass steel and tube making in the town since the early 1930s. In fact, it’s been 90 years since the tube works opened.

“There is still a proud connection to steel within our local community, and we should not underestimate its ongoing importance, providing good job opportunities for the town’s youngsters and the wider area. The steel industry was closed in the early 1980s, devastating the town, but the resilience and fighting spirit of its people have somewhat contributed to its recovery. We cannot stand by and let steelmaking in the UK be offshored and call this a fair green transition.

"The challenges that Corby and the wider steel industry face today are not too dissimilar to what happened here in Corby 44 years ago, but I am sure the people of the town will be steadfast in the fight. To use a steel analogy, the chemistry of the people remains the same."

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The UK government’s lack of support or any long-term plan for steel is putting a sector which can and should have a bright future at risk. The public and steelworkers know there is another better way forward.

“In Germany, France and the Netherlands capacity is being retained and jobs protected as the sector transitions to green steel. That can happen here too: An incoming Labour government will invest £3 billion in UK steel.

“The demand for steel is expected to increase ten-fold over the coming years and the UK is perfectly placed to become a global leader in its production - if the right choices are made. Unite will not stop campaigning until they are.”

A motion will also be put to tonight’s full North Northamptonshire Council by Labour councillors John McGhee (Lab, Kingswood) and Matt Keane (Lab, Corby West) calling on the UK to become the ‘green capital of steel’ to safeguard thousands of steel jobs.

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The motion states: “We call on this Council to support the safe UK steel campaign and ask the leader of the council to write to the prime minister asking that -parliament supports our local people and the economy by supporting the campaign to save UK steel.”

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