Poet Linda Robinson used her “fabulous opportunity” on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square yesterday to highlight the plight of the Corus steelwork factory in Teesside.
Joined by a handful of representatives from the union Unite, she used her hour in Antony Gormley’s ‘One & Other’ project in Trafalgar Square to amplify the Union’s call on the government to support British industry during the recession.
Corus’ mothballing of its Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant, announced in May, has added around 2000 jobs losses to the 3500 redundancies made by the company in January. Corus has since announced plans to cut a further 2000 jobs.
Multi Union Chairman Teesside, Geoff Waterfield, reminded the government of their “obligation to support manufacturing”, which Corus’ chief executive Kirky Adams has also highlighted, pointing to the steps European governments such as Germany, Holland and Spain have taken to protect their workforce.
He also asked for a long-term manufacturing plan which was above party politics, and was echoed by Union representative Richard Green, who said: “On May 8 we were asked to close. But by June [the price of steel] was improving.” Green added he believed this was an issue which went beyond the immediate closure of the factory but was about preserving a society “for future generations [in which] everyone’s aims and ambitions can be catered for.”
STEEL RIVER by Linda Robinson
We are the children of the Steel River,
our spirit forged on the anvil of the Ironmasters ambition.
In the shadows of the chimneys and the furnaces we are indomitable and fierce,
yet open and loyal.
When our industrial masters eat us up and spit us out,
their pockets lined like the last blast furnace,
we are dignified and proud.
Steel in our hearts and steel in our spines.
From father to son and father to son,
the baton of our industrial heritage is handed on,
with many a false start in the race to remain relevant, economical, viable.
We will always be the children of the Steel River and if the sounds of industry are one day stilled you will still hear us roar.