Members of Community, GMB and Unite prepare to ballot over pensions change

TataMembers of three unions – Community, GMB and Unite – are preparing to ballot their members for industrial action after Tata Steel announced its intention to close the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) to future accrual.

GMB national officer David Hulse said: “Tata Steel’s decision to close the BSPS is unnecessary and profoundly disappointing. It is not a position we expected to find ourselves in given that trade unions have been in discussions with the company since early November.

“Throughout a long process we have acted in good faith and negotiated constructively in trying to reach an agreement which addresses what we acknowledge to be a significant deficit in the scheme.

“We have made every effort to compromise with the company, even discussing the possibility of meeting the deficit through changes to member benefits, despite the fact the company is legally obliged to pay for the deficit and has always done so in the past.

“Sadly, the company rejected this offer out of hand. It appears they are hellbent on closing the scheme and are not prepared to compromise. We have lost all faith in the company and its leadership, which has brought us to the brink of a major national industrial dispute for the first time in over 30 years. The senior management of Tata Steel Europe should seriously consider their positions for bringing about this total breakdown in trust.

“We feel we have no option but to consult our members and prepare to ballot for industrial action to defend their hard won pension rights.”

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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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