Nice to be reminded that the world can be changed

Jobs are safe at Port Talbot   Picture: NewsCast
Jobs are safe at Port Talbot Picture: NewsCast

COMMENT: Going above and beyond is all in a day’s work at QA

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It’s nice to finally be able to write about some positive news.

Last week Tata Steel announced it would be protecting jobs at its steel plants in the UK for a further five years.

In Port Talbot alone that’s more than 4,000 jobs that will be safe for a while at least.

And while not ideal, it must be a relief for a workforce who, when they were told in March that the plants were going to be sold, didn’t think they’d have jobs by Christmas.

Tata has announced it will be investing £1bn to try to safeguard its business in the UK.

But of course this will come at a price for the workers in terms of their pensions.

But in a year when the bad news has arrived with relentless regularity, it’s definitely a bright spot to focus on at the end of 2016.

Having spent a number of years working in Swansea, and returning regularly to visit since then, it’s been with a heavy heart that I’ve driven past the Port Talbot steelworks.

I’ve wondered if the next time I went past it would be sold or, worse, completely shut.

As the nights have drawn in, the lights in the steelworks have never dimmed.

And that is due entirely to the hard work of politicians and, more impressively, the hard work of the Community Union members who launched their Save Our Steel campaign hot on the heels of Tata’s original announcement.

They have all been tireless in their efforts to lobby, to cajole, to persuade and finally to succeed – saving jobs and injecting £200m in wages into Wales alone.

But it’s not just themselves who they’ve benefited.

I read that the money that will be filtered down to other companies in Tata’s supply chain is worth about £3.3bn a year.

If that’s not enough to add some extra stuffing to your turkey, I don’t know what is.

It’s nice to be reminded that, even when the chips are down and you face a seemingly insurmountable task of changing the minds of a global corporation that had announced a faît accomplis, sometimes the world can be changed.

IT’S TIME TO STOP THIS NONSENSE BEFORE SOMEBODY GETS HURT

It’s been a little while since I wrote about the strikes on Southern Rail.

I had hoped back in October that it was all going to be resolved quick sticks and all those poor commuters could get back to business as usual.

Yet it continues, with rail fare hikes from the new year adding insult to injury for passengers. And then last week a story ran in The News about a young girl left stranded at Havant railway station with no way to get home to Chichester.

Despite Havant being a main station, the rail replacement buses had stopped at 5.30pm. In the dark, alone, and being taunted by a group of boys, she must have been terrified.

Surely it’s time for both sides to stop this nonsense before someone gets seriously hurt.