Unite renews call for tariff free access to the EU, as British Steel announces ‘strong’ profits

Unite repeated its call today (Wednesday 18 July) for UK steel to have tariff free access to the European Union (EU) post-Brexit, as British Steel announced first quarter profits.

Unite also said that ministers must work with their EU counterparts to resolve the issue of steel tariffs introduced by US president Donald Trump as part of his ‘America First’ protectionist agenda.

British Steel described its £21 million first quarter profits as ‘strong’ and it also announced a £50 million investment in upgrading its Scunthorpe rod mill.

Unite national officer for steel Tony Brady said: “The government must now step up and ensure that this brighter future is not short-lived.

“Ministers need to support the UK steel industry by ending the Brexit chaos that has engulfed the government and secure tariff free access and frictionless trade to the European Union in Brexit negotiations.

“Ministers must also work with their European counterparts to find a resolution to Donald Trump’s steel tariffs and the global overcapacity of steel which threatens the future of the UK’s steel industry.

“This positive news and investment is in no small part down to the British Steel workforce, whose tireless hard work has helped turn the company around.

“Their commitment and sacrifice has helped secure a brighter future for steelmaking in Scunthorpe, when only a few years ago it was hanging by a thread.”

Speaking outside of Parliament yesterday British Steel convenor Martin Foster said: “If we have to pay tariffs it’s going to hurt and it could jeopardise our industry, particularly our company.

“British Steel is a very young company – we’ve only been established two years. We’re still finding our feet and we really can’t afford the impact that Brexit could have on us.”