Climate Activists Support Port Talbot Steel Workers for Worker-Led Green Transition - Extinction Rebellion UK

Climate Activists Support Port Talbot Steel Workers for Worker-Led Green Transition

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Extinction Rebellion UK (XRUK), Extinction Rebellion Cymru and other climate justice groups join the workers of the Tata steel plant in Port Talbot, south Wales, to demand justice for the workers and their communities. 

Thousands of workers are facing job losses due to Tata Steel’s decarbonisation efforts. Climate activists and workers are demanding a worker-led transition and a community assembly to collaboratively plan for the future of both the workforce, the community and the environment in Port Talbot.

Workers from all three trade unions, Unite, Community and GMB have balloted for industrial and potential strike action in response to the proposals put forward by Tata Steel and UK government earlier this year.  The rally is the beginning of industrial action with a work-to-rule and an overtime ban [1]. XRUK, XR Cymru, and members of many climate justice groups are there with banners saying ‘Climate justice for steel workers’ to show solidarity with the  workers and the community of Port Talbot.

The move is no good news for the climate either: Tata’s decarbonisation efforts in Port Talbot mean the steel will be produced in India with high emissions and then shipped to the UK, undermining the benefits.

Climate activists have pledged to stand with the steel workers to demand climate justice. Part of their pledge reads: “Workers shouldn’t pay the price for large companies’ transition to sustainability. The Transition should be just and workers-led. If we want wind power to be at the heart of the renewable energy production system, we should have strong steel production in the UK. We need the future UK government to develop robust and fair transition strategies that place the needs of the people and nature at the heart. We also urgently need our trade unions to prioritise the climate and ecological emergency as an industrial issue.” [2]

Half hearted attempts have been made to help employees by offering retraining schemes to help them find a new job, but these would mean a much lower wage during any retraining period which most people cannot afford [3].

Extinction Rebellion and XR Cymru plan to work together with the steel workers and the wider Port Talbot community to organise further community assemblies to build on the workers’ plan for a transition that is truly fair and inclusive for everyone affected by the current Tata unjust decarbonisation plan. An initial assembly already took place earlier this year [4], and XR hopes to get more steel workers involved in the next assembly to ensure they are part of creating a plan forward.

At the rally is activist Jan Hines from XR Cymru, a frontline support worker, who is a Port Talbot resident and whose two children work in the steel works. She says, “The Well-Being of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015 says “What Wales does today, the world does tomorrow”. We stand in solidarity with all other climate justice groups, steel workers and people of Port Talbot in the hope that we can bring about positive change in this desperate situation. We can lead the way for other communities across the UK and the world who will face these issues and the other devastating impacts we face due to climate change that have been inflicted on us by greedy large corporations and a corrupt government.  We will continue to demand a future for our children and our grandchildren and we stand in solidarity with the workers of Port Talbot.” 

Extinction Rebellion intends to stand by the Port Talbot steel workers throughout the industrial action and beyond, urging the UK to look to Wales, where the challenges of the fight against the climate and ecological crisis have become starkly evident.



  1. Tata industrial action begins as workers fight to stop shutdown plans. Unite the Union, 30 May 2024: 
  2. Climate Justice for Steel Workers pledge: 
  3. Workers leaving steel town as 2,000 job cuts loom. BBC, 13 May 2024: 
  4. Port Talbot people’s assembly to tackle steelworks closure impact. Nation Cymru, 27 February 2024: 

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Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

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Related topics

climate justice Just transition Port Talbot steel steel workers strike unions

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