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Steelworkers vote to accept Tata Steel investment proposals

Steelworkers vote to accept Tata Steel proposals

15 February 2017

The consultative ballots on Tata Steel's proposal on pensions, jobs, investment and production closed at noon today. All union members were asked if they accepted the proposal, and the results for each union are as follows: 

Unite
Turnout: 69.2 per cent
Yes: 75.6 per cent
No: 24.4 per cent

Community
Turnout: 70.5 per cent
Yes: 72.1 per cent
No: 27.9 per cent

GMB
Turnout: 51.5 per cent
Yes: 74 per cent
No: 26 per cent

Tony Brady, national officer for Unite, said: "This is not a decision our members have taken lightly. It has been a hellish time for them, their families and their communities as uncertainty has swirled around the steel industry over this past year or more.

"During that time steelworkers have made great sacrifices to ensure the UK’s world class steel industry has a future. Those sacrifices must be repaid by Tata Steel honouring its commitments on investment and job security. Nothing less would be a betrayal and add to the deep mistrust that steelworkers now have for the company.

"The UK government in Westminster must also repay the sacrifices and the commitment shown by steelworkers to their industry by stepping up to support steel and secure its future. Recent talk of steel being a low priority for UK government ministers in Brexit negotiations is shameful.

"The UK government must now work in lockstep with the Welsh government and put steel at the heart of a manufacturing industrial strategy which ensures UK steel is used in all major infrastructure and defence projects."

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, said: "This result provides a clear mandate from our members to move forward in our discussions with Tata and find a sustainable solution for the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS).

"Steelworkers have taken a tough decision and have shown they are determined to safeguard jobs and secure the long-term future of steelmaking. Nobody wanted to be in this situation, but as we have always said, it is vital that we now work together to protect the benefits already accrued and prevent the BSPS from free-falling into the pension protection fund.

"This ballot involved an extremely personal decision for everyone that voted. Whichever way our members cast their votes, we know they will not have taken that decision lightly and everyone’s opinions must be respected.

"We now expect Tata to make good on its promises and deliver the investment plan for the whole of their steel business. The UK government still has an important role to play and we fully expect them to deliver tangible support for steelmaking in the UK."

Dave Hulse, national officer for GMB, said: "Now that steelworkers have done their bit, it is time for the government to step up and do theirs. Thousands of skilled jobs rely on steelmaking and the industry supports the whole UK manufacturing sector. 

"Instead of insulting steelworkers by classing their industry as a 'low priority', the government must set out a strategy for steel that recognises it as a high priority for investment and innovation."

ENDS  

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.