Scunthorpe steel union calls for Government action on dumping of unfairly traded steel

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 10 Jan 2018

The Scunthorpe steel industry’s main trade union Community has called on the Government to stop the dumping of unfairly traded steel in the wake of Brexit.

The union's wire and steel sector committee, of which the Scunthorpe British Steel site multi-union chairman Paul McBean is a member, believes the current proposals under discussion in Parliament will do more harm than good.

In a letter to the Chancellor Phillip Hammond, the committee calls for meaningful action.

It also expresses serious concern about the effect the Customs Bill will have on the steel industry and communities like Scunthorpe.

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The letter states: "When the UK leaves the European Union we will of course need to set up our own way of preventing unfair trade or dumping of goods. We understand this Customs Bill is putting down the framework for that to happen. But as it is currently written, we fear it will not be effective.

"It is our members' livelihoods that will be threatened if this piece of legislation does not serve to protect our industry from the ongoing and existential threat that is the dumping of unfairly priced and state-subsidised steel into our markets.


Paul McBean, chair of the works multi-union committee at British Steel in Scunthorpe, is also a member of the Community union's wire and steel sector committee

"How do we know this? Because we have lived through the terrible impact when there is no decisive response to unfair trading practices.

"Steel dumping, particularly from China, was a significant factor in the steel crisis we faced over the past few years.

"We know Chinese steel companies benefit from state subsidies and other support.

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"To give an example, between 2011 and 2014 the Chinese share of the UK’s rebar market rose from nought to 45 per cent and consequently the price dropped by more than a third; how can we compete with that?

"Dumping from China has subsided, for now, owing to the long-overdue introduction of a range of EU trade remedies on Chinese steel.

"But where we have seen China withdraw from the market, others like Turkey or Iran have stepped forward to take their place.

"Since 2015 there have been thousands of steel jobs lost across the UK. Our union, Community, has been at the forefront of the campaign to Save our Steel and ensure a sustainable future for what is left of the industry. That’s why we are raising our collective voices again today."

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