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Tata Steel pensions’ dispute ends: Union members vote ...

Tata Steel pensions’ dispute ends: Union members vote to accept proposal to keep scheme open

15 July 2015

The pensions’ dispute at Tata Steel that brought the company to the brink of the biggest industrial dispute in 35 years has ended.

Members of all four unions at the company have voted to accept changes to the British Steel Pension Scheme which will keep the scheme open. Ballots closed at noon today (Wednesday 15 July 2015).

Commenting on the result, Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “There is a clear mandate from all union members for the Steel Committee to seek further meetings with the company to finalise the arrangements to keep the British Steel Pension Scheme open. This result also provides the opportunity to negotiate improvements to the scheme in the future should the scheme recover.”

Dave Hulse, national officer at GMB said: “After months of negotiations it was a strong union campaign that forced Tata Steel back to the table and got the company to change its decision to close the scheme. It was the unity of union members that meant we could do this.”

Nick Blundell, regional secretary for Ucatt said: “Without the campaign by the unions the British Steel Pension Scheme would be closing. Now we need to move on and address the other concerns of our members at Tata Steel.”

Roy Rickhuss,  general secretary of Community and chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee said: “The challenges will not end here. There is more to do both to resolve the concerns of our members at Tata Steel and to meet the wider challenges faced by the UK steel industry. It was apparent during this dispute that the company was not listening to the concerns of its workforce, which led to a serious breakdown in trust and confidence. All unions have already begun a dialogue with the company to address these issues.”

The consultative ballots on changes to the British Steel Pension Scheme closed at noon today (Wednesday 15 July). All union members were asked if they agreed with the unions’ recommendation to accept the proposed changes that keep the British Steel Pension Scheme open.

Results for each union are as follows:

Union           YES          NO
GMB            78.9%       21.1%
Unite            72.0%       28.0%
Community  70.3%        29.7%
Ucatt            53.3%        46.7%

Unite’s 6,000 members include crane drivers, erectors, fitters, riggers, turners and welders. The main sites are at Corby, Llanwern, Port Talbot, Scunthorpe, Shotton and Workington.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. 

  • 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.