Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined hundreds of steelworkers as they marched on Westminster today (25 May), ahead of a meeting about the future of the sale of Tata Steel's UK assets.
The protesters, from the three main steel unions Community, Unite and the GMB, are calling for the government to ensure the assets are sold "responsibly" and to deliver a viable infrastructural strategy for the industry.
Workers from Tata Steel were among those taking part; some of their senior management are meeting with government officials in Mumbai, India, to discuss the future of their UK plants. Corbyn said it was vital for the government to intervene and save the industry.
Speaking to reporters as he led the protest past the Houses of Parliament, he said: "It's the basis of our manufacturing economy, it has got to be saved, the government has got to be prepared to intervene."
Community union leader Roy Rickhuss said MPs and government officials were living in a "glass bubble" and an "ivory tower", and had no idea how the crisis was afflicting ordinary steel workers. "They need to do more, they need to show support, we need real action, not just warm words," he said. "We need to get action on the issues that we have already raised – issues around procurement, business rates, energy costs, Chinese dumping – all those issues that are not yet dealt with", he continued.
The march comes after many weeks of intense speculation about who will purchase Tata Steel UK. The company has said it was "reviewing all options" and had no shortlist in place so far.