20th anniversary of Ravenscraig closure

It was in June 1992 that thousands of Ravenscraig workers left their work for the last time, after the Thatcher Government and British Steel closed the plant following decades of devastating cuts.

It was in June 1992 that thousands of Ravenscraig workers left their work for the last time, after the Thatcher Government and British Steel closed the plant following decades of devastating cuts.

Tommy Brennan, former Ravenscraig Works Convener and Trade Union leader, said a total of 770 workers lost their jobs – all that were left out of the 13,000 the site once boasted.

Writing on the Yes Scotland website, Mr Brennan said: “At the time the decision was made to pull the plug the industry was performing well and safety records at an all-time high.

“But it didn't matter. We just did not fit in to the long term plans of British Steel.

“Many people say the Thatcher Government closed Ravenscraig. She certainly didn't help, but it was British Steel and in partcular Bob Scholey the chairman that did it.

“The way it was closed was wrong. It was probably the most efficient plant of the five major plants in British Steel in operation with an average of 2.5/3 man hours per tonne-whilst the average in the rest of British Steel was 6.2.

“This was even more of an achievement given we were producing hard to make top of the market steel. Despite of our strong record it just wasn't enough.

“That’s why I look to an independent future for Scotland. As a life-long trade union member and a member of the Labour Party for 39 years till it left me – I sincerely believe it is fundamentally better if decisions about Scotland, are taken by people who care most about Scotland, and that is the people of Scotland.”

Clare Adamson, SNP MSP for Central Scotland which covers the Ravenscraig site, said:

“Ravenscraig was closed because we had a government that the people of Scotland did not vote for and did not fight to keep the plant open.

“The years of Thatcher and her devastating cuts destroyed Scotland’s thriving steel industry – if Scotland had been an independent member state of the EU we could have vetoed the closure under the single-plant national steel industries policy.

“In 1993 that is exactly what the Tory government did to protect single-plant national steel industries in Portugal, Ireland and Greece.

“At the Tory-led No campaign yesterday the Labour party said it is best for the Tories to be in charge of our welfare state at the same time David Cameron orders benefit cuts for people because they live in Scotland.

“Looking back on the 20th anniversary of the closure of Ravenscraig, we must learn from this past and realise Scotland’s potential as an independent nation, reindustrialised by its renewable strengths.”

Tommy Brennan’s piece on Ravenscraig can be found here http://www.yesscotland.net/learning_from_the_past_looking_to_the_future.