Community, Unite and GMB have today concluded a consultative ballot on temporary changes to terms and conditions, as part of the deal to sell Tata Steel's Long Products business to Greybull Capital. All unions voted to accept the proposed changes. The ballot, which closed at noon today, involved all members of those unions within long products.
Speaking after the result Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “Unite recognises that this will have been a difficult decision to take for many, but by agreeing to make these short-term sacrifices members have secured a future for steelmaking in Scunthorpe and the long product division’s other sites.
“Government ministers need to make sure that the sacrifices are not being made in vain by taking decisive action to support the steel industry and allowing steelworkers to compete on a level playing field with their global competitors.
“This means government ministers backing up their warm words with action to compel contractors working on defence and infrastructure projects such as HS2 to use British steel.
“Ministers also need to step up action to tackle the dumping of cheap imports and go further with help on high energy costs, otherwise steelworkers will be left fighting with one hand tied behind their backs.
“We hope that Greybull Capital can now finalise the deal with Tata Steel UK and look forward to working with the company to make sure the new ‘British Steel’ has a bright and successful future.”
Steve McCool, Community's national officer for the steel industry, said: “I want to thank everyone who participated in this important ballot. I fully appreciate this has been an extremely difficult decision, but be in no doubt this result represents another major step forward towards our objective of securing a sustainable future for long products.
“I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute once again to the local trade union reps for their exceptional commitment and their willingness to confront the serious challenges we face to safeguard jobs and the business going forward.
“Our members have spoken and the trade unions will be guided by this result as we continue to work with Tata and Greybull to secure a long term future for the business. The steel made at Scunthorpe and across the north of England is some of the best in the world and is absolutely vital to the infrastructure and construction industries.
“The decision our members have taken today must now be backed up by firm government action on procurement. When Britain builds, we must always build using British steel.”
GMB's national officer Dave Hulse said: “This was an important ballot at the end of difficult negotiations but our members have clearly voted in favour of the proposals, in recognition of the challenges ahead.
“Now we want Tata, Greybull and the government to pull together to complete the deal. Government will need to commit to further action on dumping, procurement and other costs but with the right support everyone can turn their focus to making a success of the new business and look to the future of long products steel making.
“The UK steel industry still faces huge challenges and the trade unions will continue to work with government and steel producers to secure the level playing field our members need to compete.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.