I actually did my apprenticeship at British Steel Rotherham back in the 1980’s, I am not one bit shocked by what is currently happening, as I was forced out within a year of completing my Process control apprenticeship in 1984. They told me they didn’t have time for me to do a HND at the same time they wouldn’t give me a full time position, I left for the Telecom department of Midland Bank in 1985.
I agreed with privatising the Steel industry back then, however the way the Thatcher government went about doing it was disgraceful. If you go down Sheffield Rd, you will find most of the old steel plant existing in some form or other, but in a derelict state.
One of the biggest mistakes was to shut down the largest melting shop in the world called S.P.E.A.R, it was strategically positioned for Rotherham and Sheffield. I suspect Rotherham council gave cheap rates for moving some of these furnaces to Alwarke, which was a big mistake.
I am against nationalising industries long term, but for the good of the Steel industry we need to re nationalise the current industry until a new strategy for Steel can be found. We need to lower energy costs for British manufacturing as happens in other European countries. We can’t allow our manufacturing plants to fall into the hands of foreign individuals who put profit before investment.
I am not sure it was good to keep open plants in Wales and Scotland at the expense of efficient steel making plants in South Yorkshire, this was done for political purposes and the main reason I left British Steel in the 1980’s.
We have to re balance our economy, between real wealth making industry, rather than focusing too much on the service sector, especially banking in the South East. We need to start training our youth to work in the Steel industry and stop importing foreign labour.
We need to leave the EU, who will stop us helping our steel industry and put our own house in order. We certainly need to put tariff’s on countries who dump steel, at less than cost price in the UK. At the same time, how can starting salaries in the Steel industry in South Wales be £30K a year, this sounds far too much. I don’t trust the Labour or Conservative governments to put our people and country first, I lost confidence in both political parties a long time ago.
All the best