(Bloomberg) -- Tata Steel Ltd. is facing an historic strike in the UK as some workers plan the company’s first walkout in the country in 40 years over its plan to cut thousands of jobs. 

Around 1,500 workers based in the Welsh towns of Port Talbot and Llanwern will strike indefinitely starting July 8, a move that will severely impact Tata’s UK operations, the Unite union said in a statement on its website.

The company plans to cut 2,800 jobs and close blast furnaces, it added.

Tata Steel is “extremely disappointed” by Unite’s decision to call a strike, a company spokesperson told Bloomberg. Instead, the steelmaker had expected the union to present to its members Tata’s latest financial support offer for workers who will lose their jobs.

“Our existing steelmaking assets are near the end of their life, are operationally unstable and causing unsustainable losses of £1 million a day,” the spokesperson said, adding the preparations to close the blast furnaces and associated plants in Port Talbot are unchanged.

“If the safety and stability of our operations are put at risk by this action, we will be forced to accelerate those closure plans,” the steelmaker said.

India-based Tata Steel is one of Britain’s biggest steelmakers. In April, the company said it would proceed with a £1.25 billion ($1.6 billion) plan to build an electric arc furnace at Port Talbot and start closing existing heavy-end assets. That followed months of national-level discussions with UK trade unions that threatened industrial action over expected job losses.

Britain’s Labour Party — largely expected to win a general election on July 4 — has called for Tata to halt its plans and wait until after the vote to engage in talks with the government, the BBC reported earlier, citing Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds.

“Labour has pledged £3 billion for UK steel if elected next month, a commitment secured by Unite,” the union said in the statement. “Labour has also made emergency talks with Tata a priority if it wins the election.”

--With assistance from P R Sanjai.

(Updates with company comments from fourth paragraph)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.