On 31 August representatives of Community, Unite and GMB met with Tata Steel management in London to discuss the ongoing situation with the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS).
During the meeting, Tata made it clear that the previous proposals to amend scheme benefits in order to avoid entering the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) now appeared as if they would be difficult to deliver.
This leaves the BSPS facing the very real possibility of being dumped entirely into the PPF as part of Tata’s plan to divest its UK assets.
All trade unions involved have previously made it clear that such an outcome would be unacceptable.
Tata management expressed a desire to explore other options for the BSPS, however the unions are clear that no such further discussions can take place until Tata clearly sets out its long term commitment to the UK industry.
It has been over five months since Tata first announced its desire to sell its UK operations and yet steelworkers and their families are even less clear about their future now.
The delayed sales process, the prospect of Tata remaining and now the proposed merger with ThyssenKrupp have all served to create uncertainty for Tata’s loyal workforce and the wider industry.
The unions made it clear that through these actions Tata has lost the trust and confidence of the workforce and therefore the company must clearly and urgently set out its intentions and its plans to act as either a responsible owner or seller.