Corby steel strike: Strike action suspended for consultation on new offer


Strike action due to take place next week by Tata union members has been suspended while they are consulted over a new offer in the dispute over pensions.

The industrial action planned for Monday, June 22, has been suspended until July 24.

It comes after 100 senior shop stewards from GMB, Community, Unite and UCATT from Tata Steel meeting in London on June 19 decided to refer a new offer to members in the long running dispute on pensions.

Members will be consulted in a consultative ballot organized by ERBS.

The new offer which keeps the British Steel Pension Scheme open emerged from talks at ACAS on Monday, June 15.

The overtime ban and work to rule from 6am on Saturday, June 20, and the strike action on Monday, June 22, have been called off.

Shop stewards agreed to suspend industrial action at Tata Steel for 28 days until July 24 to allow the consultation to take place.

The unions are recommending that the deal is accepted.

Officials from the British Steel Pension Scheme will be conducting roadshows around Tata Steel sites next week to explain the new pensions offer.

Unions will also to begin to put in place arrangements to ballot members on the proposals.

As of December 2014, the British Steel Pension Scheme had 143,000 members, with 17,004 making up employee members and 91,264 making up pensioner members.

As of November 2014, the assets of the scheme were valued at around £13.6 billion and continue to increase.

Dave Hulse, GMB National Officer, 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.”

Roy Rickhuss, chairman of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee and General Secretary of Community, 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.”

Harish Patel, national officer for Unite, said: “Union action brought the company back to the table with an improved offer.

“The 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.”