Responding to the news that steelworkers have voted in favour of the deal negotiated by unions and Tata Steel UK, Professor Dave Worsley of Swansea University, an expert on steel who works closely with the industry, said:
“Today could mark the start of a bright future for the UK steel industry, if the government gets behind the deal supported by steelworkers.
Steel is a 21st century industry, developing tomorrow’s technologies. With support from government, and a relentless focus on innovation, the steel industry can once again be a great British success story.
The workforce has shown real resolve – and made difficult sacrifices – in reaching the decision announced today. Tata Steel UK has also committed to a long-term plan.
Now is the time for government to match that resolve. As our recent report outlined, the essential steps for the UK and Welsh government, which will help create the conditions for success, are:
- Devising and committing to a long-term strategic plan for the UK steel industry
- Ensuring that – come what may – Port Talbot’s primary steelmaking plant, and its downstream units, is retained as a whole
- Cutting the industry’s biggest costs: energy and business rates
- Using its procurement power to encourage the construction sector to adopt low-carbon steel-based technologies for publicly-funded projects
- Developing a long-term programme boosting innovation, research and development – the bedrock of a 21st century steel industry
The bright future for steel can already be seen in the work we are doing at Swansea University, in collaboration with the industry – developing energy-positive building materials, and finding better ways to tackle corrosion.
Here in the heartland of the UK steel industry, Swansea University, founded on copper and steel, will continue to play its part, helping to make steel a great British success story.”
Professor Dave Worsley is research director of the College of Engineering at Swansea University, and of the SPECIFIC project, which develops products that can turn buildings into power stations.
Swansea University has a long history of close collaboration with the steel industry in its South Wales heartland. The University was founded to help meet the needs of industry in a region long famous for its expertise in metals. Today its research infrastructure supports the steel industry in many ways, with brand-new research and testing facilities at the University’s new Bay Campus, which is situated across the bay from the giant Port Talbot steelworks.
Picture: the Bay campus at Swansea University with the Port Talbot steelworks across the Bay. International experience shows that successful steel industries have their research and innovation facilities located close to their plants, fostering partnerships.
- Wednesday 15 February 2017 12.25 GMT
- Wednesday 15 February 2017 14.25 GMT
- Public Relations Office