Corby Tata union members to take part in indicative ballot over 'zero per cent' payrise for steelworkers

The pay negotiations have been ongoing for some time

By Kate Cronin
Thursday, 15th April 2021, 10:21 am
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 10:22 am
Corby's Tata steelworks. Image: JPI Media.
Corby's Tata steelworks. Image: JPI Media.

Corby steelworkers, as well as Tata employees across England and Wales, are to be asked to support their unions in 'sending a stong message' to bosses after pay negotiations ended in stalemate.

Formal talks between steelworkers' unions GMB, Community and Unite and Tata Steel UK over pay and conditions for the last financial year have been ongoing for some time.

Unions which operate together under the banner of The National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee (NTUSCC), had wanted a pay increase and improved terms and conditions for thousands of their members at sites across England and Wales including those at Corby.

But talks have not been productive and so members have now been asked to take part in an indicative ballot to ask them what kind of action they may support in the event that an agreement is not possible. A message sent to members at the tubeworks in Weldon Road this week, and seen by reporters at this newspaper, states: "The company have rejected out of hand out attempt for a pay and conditions increase offer for you.

"..Due to the company's position we have no alternative but to ask you, our members to support us in our endeavours to get a pay deal for 2020/21.

"We will be sending out an indicative ballot paper to all our members asking you for your support in sending a strong message to the company about having a 0% increase and no improvement in your terms and conditions..

"We strongly believe the company have failed in the recognition to what each and every one of us had done during the last 12 months."

The historic Corby site, which employs about 500 people, is one of Europe's leading producers of steel tubular products, and manufactures 250,000 tonnes strip steel and thin-wall welded steel products each year. It was also a key producer of steel tubes for the rapid construction of the Nightingale Covid sites during Spring last year. Tata, the UK's largest steelmaker, is thought to employ about 8,000 people across the UK including 4,000 at its biggest site at Port Talbot in Wales.

Last year the company held talks with the Government to access hundreds millions in financing made available under Project Birch, set up to help large companies survive the Covid pandemic. It is believed that Tata was eventually found not to be eligible for the funding.

In January, Tata Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran was heavily criticised by unions after he told the Sunday Times that the company "can't have a situation where India keeps funding losses" at its Port Talbot steelworks.

In 2019/20 Tata Steel's pre-tax losses were £371m.

A Tata Steel spokesperson said: “We have been holding discussions with trade union representatives in relation to a pay claim submitted for 2020. We continue to work closely with all our trade union representatives as the company recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global steel markets.”

A union spokesperson said that there would be no comment at this time.