Agency staff add to steel jobs cut
MORE workers will be leaving Tata Steel's plant in Port Talbot, the steel giant has confirmed.
However, the latest departures have nothing to do with last months' bombshell announcement that 500 jobs are to go. Politicians are already seeking a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the future of the steel industry.
In the meantime, Tata has confirmed that 32 agency staff, who had been working in the plant's central engineering workshops, would be leaving. Just under 200 people work in the workshops, some full-time Tata employees and the remainder agency staff.
A Tata spokesman said the reason they were leaving was because full-time employees were returning to the workshops after helping out on large on-site engineering projects.
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Work carried out at the workshops includes maintaining, repairing and upgrading machinery.
"The purpose of hiring agency staff is to have a flexible resource," said a Tata spokesman. "You need people for a period of time."
He added: "Quite a lot of people who work for agencies prefer the flexible lifestyle in work."
Tata has announced the loss of 900 jobs across the UK, 500 of them at Port Talbot, as part of a restructuring exercise to make it more competitive in difficult conditions.
On the political front, the All Party Steel Group of MPs has already agreed with a proposal by Aberavon MP Hywel Francis to seek an urgent meeting with David Cameron.
Welsh Secretary David Jones has also agreed to meet MPs representing steel constituencies across Wales and to visit the Port Talbot works.
Most recently, Aberavon AM David Rees has raised the large-scale job losses in the Senedd, where he called on the Welsh Government to support workers affected.
Mr Rees said: "While this is hugely distressing news for the people who will lose their jobs, their families and the whole town in general, our focus must now be on what we can do to help. We all know how competitive the jobs market is at the moment, so we have to make sure that these people are able to retrain, up-skill if necessary and quickly gain new employment.
"I've been reassured by the First Minister (Carwyn Jones) that there will be a quick response to this announcement and that every effort will be made to support employees during this difficult time.
"I have also been regularly liaising with the management, employees and the unions at Tata to ensure we do everything in our power to help."