Workers urged to accept offer that sees pension scheme saved

TataA pensions strike by Tata steel workers, scheduled to begin today, has been called off to allow unions to consult members on a new offer from bosses.

Members of Community, GMB, UCATT and Unite voted for action after Tata announced plans to close its pensions scheme. A new offer has been tabled that keeps the scheme open, prompting unions to recommend its acceptance.

Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “Our members standing up for their pensions has made Tata Steel change its mind.

“Through meaningful discussions and negotiation with the company we have been able to keep the scheme open and improve on their final offer prior to their decision to close the scheme. This is a massive turnaround and means there is the opportunity for the British Steel Pension Scheme to provide dignity and security in retirement for many more steelworkers in the future.

“As we have always acknowledged there are some significant challenges for the scheme but this new offer addresses some of those issues while enabling our members to continue to accrue final salary pension benefits. Our members will make the final decision but the unions are recommending a vote in favour because we believe we have secured the best available deal from the company.”

GMB national officer Dave Hulse said: “We always told Tata Steel that closing the scheme was unacceptable but it took the unity and resolve of trade union members to make them listen.

“Now we’ve got a deal that means the scheme is open, the importance of early retirement is recognised and the challenges faced by the scheme are addressed. Of course now it’s up to our members but the unions are recommending acceptance.”

Unite national officer Harish Patel said: “Union action brought the company back to the table with an improved offer. The British Steel pension scheme (BSPS) is so important to Tata Steel employees and we have managed to keep the scheme open and secure a deal around early retirement.

“This is the best deal we could get and now our members get to decide. We will be urging them to vote for the offer on the table.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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