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Collapse of Port Talbot’s Steelworks

The collapse of Port Talbot’s steelworks is a death knell for industrial, working-class Britain.

Keith Gildart – The Guardion

UK industrial towns offered not only well-paid jobs, but a whole culture. A radical alternative is desperately needed

Last week, Tata Steel in Port Talbot announced the immediate closure of its coke ovens. These ovens create the coke that ultimately powers the blast furnaces, which, as was announced in January, are due to be shut down. The decision by Tata to close the furnaces sent shock waves through the community. There are set to be 2,800 job losses – a huge blow for a small town that has already undergone significant cuts to its steel industry over the past decades. A final chapter in the decades-long deindustrialisation of the British economy appears to be coming to a close.

Plant closures are never only about the loss of work, but also the cultural and psychological effects on the people who are made unemployed, on families and communities. Steel provided well-paid, unionised and skilled employment, and created a working-class culture that gave the country Labour MPs, athletes, musicians, writers, artists and a sense of community and collective purpose. Port Talbot even gave the world the cinematic presence of Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins.

Such a distinct, collectivist culture was crucial to the development of Wales, central Scotland and parts of England in the 19th and 20th centuries. At its peak in the 1960s, Port Talbot steelworks employed about 18,000 workers, complemented by the nearly 60,000 employed in south Wales coalmines. These industries after the second world war offered an alternative vision of industrial relations, investment, community development, and a Wales (and Britain) with working-class agency at its centre.

The seeds of the destruction of this world of labour were planted with the mass closures of coalmines in the late 1950s and then the 1960s, with patchy attempts by governments to mitigate the effects. But the election of a Labour government in 1974 granted a temporary reprieve to the steel and coal industries. The subsequent Plan for Coal envisaged a long-term future for the industry with the introduction of new technology, skills and high wages. In these years, a miner could become an engineer, a mine manager, an official of the National Coal Board, a trade union official or a Labour MP. Others could take advantage of the education provided by the National Union of Mineworkers and enter university. Having started work as a coalminer in 1985, I took this path in 1992, studying history and politics and eventually became a university professor. Yet with the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, a darkness descended over the steel and coal communities.

The warning shot for British Steel and Welsh industry came with the closure of the furnaces at Shotton in March 1980, when 6,500 jobs were axed in a single day. The steel strike of the same year ended in defeat for the steelworkers. By the time Ian MacGregor left his role at British Steel in 1983 to move on to the National Coal Board, he had cut the steel workforce by almost 60% in only three years. After the crushing defeat of the miners in their year-long fight against closures in 1984-85, pits rapidly disappeared from the British landscape. The destruction of communities quickly followed. Both the moderate leadership of the steel unions and the more militant activism of the miners could do nothing to stem the tide of unemployment, inequality, poverty and the transformation of the world of work.

What has the loss of this world ushered in? The impact can be seen not just in Port Talbot but across the post-industrial regions of Wales, England and Scotland. While that industrial world of work brought with it risks to life and health, the income, opportunities and relative security offered stability. That has been replaced by warehousing, logistics, retail parks that offer zero-hours contracts, low wages, no long-term security and hostility to trade union membership and representation. Decades after the closures, Britain’s coalfields are still feeling the long-term effects, suffering disproportionately from multiple inequalities.

The deindustrialisation of Britain and the marginalisation of the working class has also had a profound impact on political engagement and representation. Your Labour MP is now likely to be a lawyer, special adviser and expensively educated graduate, rather than a steelworker or a coalminer. Meanwhile, the organised working class has moved further to the periphery of political and civic British life. At the same time, perhaps counterintuitively, the old industrial workforce is viewed with a sense of deference rather than suspicion. Steelworkers and coalminers have gone from being labelled as industrial dinosaurs, technological Luddites and enemies within, to being almost canonised through films such as The Full Monty and Billy Elliot.

That is all very well and good, but what is really needed is an appreciation of the communities and the political alternatives that they provided. Post-steel and post-coal localities need a radical industrial policy that would bring high-paid jobs, skills and opportunities that could form the basis of a real driver of levelling up. As the Port Talbot coke ovens close, what is the government doing to fill the void?

2023 Aluminium Federation – ALFED Annual Business Dinner

Jonas Metals Software is pleased to be part of the Aluminium Federation UK – ALFED.

John Padbury (COO) and Scott Taylor (CRO)  represented Jonas Metals Software at the Annual Business Briefing and Dinner. Valuable insight into the Aluminium Industry was provided by this year’s outstanding speakers.

With over 250 members in attendance it was a great event and an excellent opportunity to connect with customers, industry leaders and establish new relationships. Many thanks to Mike Dines and his successor Mark Allen as ALFED President for 2024 and 2025.

We look forward to the next year’s annual event at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor – November 2024!

John Padbury Named Chief Operating Officer of Jonas Metals Software.



John Padbury Appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Jonas Metals Software


[Oxford, 09/01/2023] – Jonas Metals Software, a leading provider of software solutions for the metals industry, is pleased to announce the appointment of John Padbury as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO). With over 30 years of experience in the metals industry, Padbury brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new role.


Padbury’s career in the metals industry began in the 1990s as a developer, where he quickly established himself as a specialist in the field. He then progressed into consultancy and project implementations, honing his skills and gaining valuable insights into the industry’s challenges and requirements. His dedication and commitment led him to leadership positions, including department manager and head of business at Metalogic UK.


In his new role as COO of Jonas Metals Software, Padbury will play a pivotal role in driving the company’s operational strategies and ensuring the delivery of high-quality software solutions to its clients. With his extensive experience, Padbury is well-equipped to lead the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of the metals industry.


Outside of his professional achievements, Padbury is a devoted family man, celebrating 30 years of marriage and raising two children who are also pursuing careers. In his leisure time, Padbury is an avid marathon runner, having completed several challenging races. He has a particular fondness for longer distance challenges, such as running the Hadrian’s Wall or the Pennine Way in the UK. However, his true joy comes from walking his dog, Monty, through the woods, regardless of the season.


“It is with great pride that we announce the appointment of John Padbury as our new Chief Operating Officer,” said Leigh Harrison, President at Jonas Metals Software. “His extensive experience in the metals industry and his proven track record of leadership make him the ideal candidate to drive our operational excellence and lead the delivery of innovative solutions. We look forward to working closely with John as we continue to provide cutting-edge technology to our valued clients.”


About Jonas Metals Software:

Jonas Metals Software is a leading provider of software solutions for the metals industry. Created from the combination of Metalogic, Compusource and PCI, with a strong focus on innovation and customer satisfaction, the company offers comprehensive software products. Designed exclusively for the Metals Industry to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and drive growth for businesses worldwide. For more information, please visit

That’s a Wrap ! UK Metals Expo

Another great event at the UK Metals Expo!

The entire metals supply chain was well represented including metal manufacturers, distributors, processors, fabricators and industry experts, leading vendors and of course Jonas Metals Software.  Attendees from across the globe brought together under one roof. 

We were happy to see the steady stream of customers, prospects and the tech curious.

iMetal Mobile Apps and Phocus Business Intelligence were big hits.

Nothing beats meeting face-to-face, seeing solutions first-hand and & making new connections.

We are already booked for an even bigger UK Metals Expo –  September 2024.

UK Metal Expo – Jonas Metals Software

By 2030, a modern and progressive UK Metals Industry will be supplying high quality, innovative and competitively priced products to a wide range of customers. 

It will be the principal supplier to the UK’s main manufacturers and infrastructure projects, and a leading global exporter.

The UK metals industry is a powerhouse of UK industry with many opportunities. 

The UK Metals Expo will be the first time that the entire industry is both represented and brought together fully under one roof.

UK Metals Expo benefits with its collaboration from the UK Metals Council

The entire metals supply chain will be represented from primary metal manufacture, processing metals, fabrication, surface coatings, industry experts, leading vendors and trade attendees.

Visit Jonas Metals Software at UK Metal Expo Stand F43

New Release – MCMS 6.0

MCMS 6.0 Summary of New Features

The current revision of Metal Center Management System (MCMS) is MCMS 6.0.4. Following is a list of some of the major features that are available from MCMS 6.0 through update 4 released between 2019 and 2023. Please see the webinars and documents on our website for more features and detail

 (Training Videos (

Accounts Payable

Accounts Receivable

Order Entry and Quotes



Document Management



When new contacts are added, the program now tells you if that contact was already entered based on the email address. The contact inquiry from Order Entry now also shows the email address on the main inquiry. [Update 4]

Bank Reconciliation

General Ledger

The G/L Year-End Closing program has been changed to make the prompts clearer, to protect against closing early, to protect against closing without a saved backup, and to allow the company to be closed when there are unposted journals in the new year. [Update 3]



Web Interface

Order lines can now be created based on a customer part, which means that both fabrications and predefined comments can be entered. [Update 3]

New Release – What’s New in iMetal v4.5

Update to iMetal v4.5 and take advantage of the Powerful and Convenient New Features including:

New and enhanced Menu options including Favorites and Application Search

New iMetal Mobile options including Stock Search using Smartphones and Tablets as bar-code readers.

Importing Advance Shipment Notifications for inbound goods records in advance.

Grouping Shipment Documents combined into a single email.

Improved Back-to-back Purchasing features.

Additional sales cost validation options to ensure profit thresholds.

Click on this link for important new features in iMetal v4.5

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