Owens Group warns of effect of Tata Steel redundancies

One of Wales’ leading hauliers has warned that the effect of job losses at Tata Steel on the local economy will be horrendous.

As Commercialmotor.com went to press, a further announcement on the job cuts at Tata was expected after the company announced last month it was to make more than 1,000 redundancies – including 750 at the Port Talbot steelworks.

Robert Williams, Owens Group company secretary, said job losses at Port Talbot would be tragic. “It’s a steel town, there are whole families working in the industry. The effect of this on the community is going to be horrendous,” he said.

He added that while Owens anticipated a drop in the volume of steel it moved for Tata, which will affect the business, the Group “is in a much better position to deal with this than it would have been 20 years ago”.

Williams said: “We’re not sure how big an effect it will have, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Tata has called on the government to reduce energy costs for manufacturers to level the playing field against foreign competition, but Williams said there’s only so much it will be able to do.

“I’m positive the Welsh Assembly is doing what it can to safeguard the jobs. But I don’t know how much it can do. I think it’s a question of just riding out the storm and having to deal with it as it comes.”

He added: “It’s a desperate situation, but I think Tata is doing this with the aim that it will carry on producing, and that Port Talbot will survive. We’ll do whatever we can to help it along.”