Tata Steel UK workers suspend industrial action

18 June 2015

Tata Steel workers in the UK have temporarily suspended their industrial action as emergency talks offered new hope of an agreement over an ongoing pensions row.

Members of four trade unions - Unite, Community, GMB and Ucatt - had started an overtime ban and work-to-rule slowdown on Tuesday ahead of 24-hour strike on June 22 to protest changes to their pension scheme.

But they confirmed it has been suspended as negotiators secured a new offer which could see the scheme remain open.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, said: “It is good that Tata Steel has finally seen sense, participated in the meaningful discussions that we have been calling for and changed its mind about closing the scheme.

“We were always prepared to consider proposals which would help overcome the current challenges faced by the scheme and we knew that could be achieved while keeping the scheme open and recognising the importance of maintaining a good final salary pension.

Trade unions representing workers of Tata Steel in the UK had announced strike action on June 22-the biggest industrial action in the UK in nearly three decades - over proposed changes in the company’s pension scheme.

“This dispute isn’t yet over but through meaningful discussion and negotiation we have made some steps towards finding a resolution.

“Consultation will begin with a meeting of senior union delegates from across the company on Friday,” Rickhuss said.

During talks at the conciliation service ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and continuing dialogue with the company, negotiators secured a new offer and workers felt that Tata had shifted its position to a sufficient extent.

The four unions together represent over 17,000 steel workers who had been told that they may have to retire at 65 rather than 60 under new pension proposals.

The row has been brewing for months raising the prospect of the first major strike action in Britain’s steel industry in over 30 years.