Wednesday, June 17, 2015

News: Tata strike action suspended as negotiations take place


Tata Steel has tabled a new offer which would keep its UK pension scheme open, meaning that action short of strike action, which began yesterday, has been temporarily suspended.

The threat of an all out strike next week still remains.

The dispute is around Tata Steel's proposed changes to its pension scheme, which include closing the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) to future accrual. The scheme is faced with a projected shortfall of up to £2 billion, which both the company and the unions agree makes change necessary. To pay for a deficit in the pension scheme, the company proposed to introduce a cap on pensionable earnings and end the early retirement provisions whereby members can retire at 60 with a full pension.

Steel unions agreed Monday June 22 as the date for strike action. Over 2,000 people are employed by the company in South Yorkshire and the Indian-owned steelmaker has a number of operations in Rotherham.

Tata Steel UK Ltd approached ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) to help facilitate the next phase in talks between the parties. An emergency meeting took place with unions earlier this week and as dialogue continued, a new offer from the company has been put forward which means the pension scheme would remain open.

Unions agreed that the company had shifted its position to such an extent that industrial action could be suspended temporarily and steps could be taken to consult members on the revised offer. Consultation will begin with a meeting of senior union delegates from across the company on Friday.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community and Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee, who led the negotiations for the union side said: "It is good that Tata Steel has finally seen sense, participated in the meaningful discussions that we have been calling for and changed its mind about closing the scheme.

"We were always prepared to consider proposals which would help overcome the current challenges faced by the scheme and we knew that could be achieved while keeping the scheme open and recognising the importance of maintaining a good final salary pension. This dispute isn't yet over but through meaningful discussion and negotiation we have made some steps towards finding a resolution."

The overtime ban and work to rule will be temporarily suspended from today to 6am on Saturday June 20. The plan for strike action on Monday June 22 has not changed.

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, the constituency where Tata's Aldwarke plant is located, said: "This is a strike no one wants. It's the first national steel strike for 35 years and it's an industry that is essential for our Rotherham and British economy.

"Bosses have lost the confidence of their workforce and that is serious because this industry has always held together, even during the global financial crisis, when I and others helped Tata get government support to pull them through."

Tata Steel website

Images: Community Union / Flickr


Supported by:
More news...

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP