Tata steelworkers vote for changes to keep pension scheme

STEELWORKERS in Rotherham and across the country have voted overwhelmingly to accept changes to keep their pension scheme open.

The threatened closure of the pension scheme at Tata Steel nearly brought unions and the company to the brink of the biggest industrial dispute in 35 years.

But this week the members of all four unions at the Tata voted to accept changes.

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Harish Patel, national officer for the Unite union said: “There is a clear mandate from all union members 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.”

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community and Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee said: “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.”

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A Tata Steel spokesman said: “The agreed proposal represents a fair and balanced solution in which UK employees will continue to be provided with high-quality pensions.

“The new arrangements, including the modifications to scheme benefits, will address a significant proportion of the pension scheme's projected deficit. Other actions to be agreed with the pension trustee will address the balance.”


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