Steelworkers in strike ballot over pensions

Ballot box
Ballot box

Steelworkers from across North Lincolnshire are set to ballot for industrial action over plans by Tata Steel to close their pension scheme.

A ballot is planned for May 6 to 29 after members of the GMB, Unite, Community and UCATT unions said that negotiations had broken down and that the move on pensions would impact greatly upon them and their families.

Roy Rickhuss, chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee, said: “Our members are determined to stand up for their pension and therefore we have no option but to proceed to an industrial action ballot in May.

“We do not believe Tata Steel Europe’s decision to close the BSPS is in line with Tata’s values, which commit its companies to improve the quality of life of the communities they serve.”

A Tata Steel spokesman said: “We are aware of the proposed date of the ballot.

“The company tabled proposals to the national officers of the trade unions whereby the defined benefit (final salary) scheme would remain open to future accruals subject to a number of modifications.

“As agreement with the trade unions on these proposals could not be reached, the company has initiated a 60-day statutory consultation period with scheme members on a proposal to close the scheme to future accruals for existing members.

“The consultation process provides opportunities for employees to comment on the proposals and to suggest alternatives that they wish the company to consider, other than the proposal of closure to future accrual. The company also remains committed to providing employees with competitive future pension provision.”