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Tata Steel pensions dispute ends

Union members vote to accept proposal to keep scheme open
Shaun Noble, Wednesday, July 15th, 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 (July 15).

“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,” said Unite national officer Harish Patel. “This result also provides the opportunity to negotiate improvements to the scheme in the future should the scheme recover.”

GMB national officer Dave Hulse hailed the strong union campaign that forced Tata Steel back to the table.

“[It] got the company to change its decision to close the scheme,” he said. “It was the unity of union members that meant we could do this.”

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

General secretary of Community and chair of the Nation Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee also emphasised that although the dispute has ended, much more needed to be done.

“The challenges will not end here,” he said. “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 (July 15). 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.

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.

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