Thursday, 1 October 2015

A resilient people and their steel

(Copyright Ruth M Gee March 2010)
For the second time in 5 years the blast furnace and steel production on Teesside is to be mothballed. SSI have said this will be for up to 5 years. 1700 posts will be made redundant, 1700 people will be without work. Families will suffer and other local businesses will suffer as income in the region drops. The food banks will be needed more than ever. Relationships will be strained as some lose their job, perhaps for the second time in 5 years and others are retained to keep the coke ovens and power station in good order so that work can be resumed if that should be possible in the future.

Once again the horizon will change as fewer ships come into Teesport. Once again the horizons of individual lives and the community will change as yet another blow strikes the resilient people of the North East.

The people here are resilient, they have to be. They are so often side-lined in national decision making. The much talked about Northern Powerhouse seems to be focused on the North West. The planned new high speed rail links, HS2 and HS3 will not come to the North East. The continuing cuts in public spending make it impossible to improve the infrastructure in the area. New jobs have been created in the North East but they are outnumbered by those that have been lost because of cuts to public services, and many new jobs are part time or on zero hour contracts.

The steel produced here is of the highest quality and very resilient just like the people.  But the resilience of these people and these communities is being strained.

The churches are responding and will offer support, food, comfort and prayer. We will also respond, as we must, by continuing to challenge those with power to use that power to the benefit of the people in the North East. We will continue to stand with and speak for the marginalised.

Please pray for the people of Teesside.

You can find a call to prayer from the local Methodist Minister here

No comments:

Post a Comment