Tata Steel has threatened to shut its blast furnaces in the UK earlier than planned amid an indefinite strike call given by a certain section of workers to protest against 2,800 job losses.

The company, which has a capacity to produce 3 million tonne of steel a year in UK, plans to shut down one blast furnace at the end of the month, while the second one is scheduled to be closed by September-end.

About 1,500 steelworkers based in Port Talbot and Llanwern in Wales have announced plans to begin an “all-out indefinite strike action” from July 8 against the company’s plans to close two blast furnaces and cut up to 2,800 jobs, said the trade union Unite.

This will be the first time in over 40 years that steelworkers in the UK have taken strike action aimed at severely impacting Tata Steel UK operations.

Reacting to the development, a Tata Steel spokesperson said the existing steel making assets, which are near the end of their life, are operationally unstable and causing unsustainable losses of £1 million a day.

“The preparations to close the blast furnaces and associated plants in Port Talbot are unchanged. However, if the safety and stability of our operations are put at risk by this action, we will be forced to accelerate those closure plans,” he said.

“Rather than taking strike action, we would have expected Unite to put our improved offer to its members, as previously accepted by all unions, including Unite,” he said.

Earlier, Tata Steel expressed concern over UK media reports that suggest the £1.25 billion investment will be put in peril due to policy differences between the Conservative and Labour parties during the ongoing election period.

A Labour Party victory in the UK could result in funding and execution uncertainties at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant, and if the £500-million support is delayed, it could lead to higher capital expenditure (capex).

“Our main concern is if the proposed £500-million support package is delayed, reduced, or scrapped, given it has not been signed yet, resulting in a higher capex burden for Tata UK,” said a recent CreditSights report.

Meanwhile, three opinion polls conducted recently predicted a record defeat for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives and forecasted that the Labour Party would comfortably win a large majority after 14 years in opposition. The country will go to election on July 4.