More than 300 people turned up to a summit in Redcar on Sunday rallied by the Teesside Evening Gazette as part of a Save Our Steel campaign.
They forsook the adjacent beach, even though the temperatures were scorching, to hear politicians, representatives of government, business support agencies and union leaders discuss strategy after the announcement by steelmaker Corus that it no longer required Teesside steel.
They also heard stinging criticism of Corus which did not attend.
The summit was broadcast live on BBC One’s Politics Show and was the lead story on local news bulletins. Even rival newspaper The Northern Echo splashed two days running on the event, giving full credit to the Evening Gazette.
Corus bosses have now done a U-turn and say they will respond to the shoal of questions thrown up at the meeting.
Gazette editor Steve Dyson, who chaired the summit and has been passionate in pursuing a future for the 2,900 steelworkers affected at the Redcar and Lackenby steelworks, said: “This event was so worthwhile. It proved to all onlookers that everyone in Teesside – be they workers, politicians, government agencies, councils or unions – wants to work together to help Corus survive in this region. I fully expect both Corus and a government minister to be at the next summit.”
The Teesside works are being cut adrift from the main company and will have to sink or swim by selling into international markets.
By Jean Morgan