The UK trade unions’ decision to suspended strike at Tata Steel plants in the country recognises the substantial shortfall in the pension fund and the need to jointly address it, the steelmaker has said. On Friday, unions — Community, Unite, Ucatt and GMB — suspended the strike scheduled for June 22 after a new pension offer from Tata Steel UK, which keeps British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) open.
Earlier this week, they had temporarily suspended industrial action at Tata Steel. “We are pleased that a meeting of trade union delegates from Tata Steel sites across the UK today agreed to recommend to members a proposal which would enable UK employees to retain a modified final salary pension scheme,” a Tata Steel UK spokesperson said late on Friday.
Trade unions representing workers of Tata Steel UK had announced strike action on June 22 — the biggest industrial action in the UK in nearly three decades — over the proposed changes in the firm’s pension scheme. Over 17,000 people work at Tata Steel across sites in Wales and around England. The new pension offer had been reached earlier this week following talks between Tata Steel and the unions facilitated by the conciliation service ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).
A Tata Steel spokesperson said trade unions have lifted the one-day strike and have extended the suspension of industrial action announced last week after unions have consulted their members on the modification proposal.
“The decision recognises the substantial shortfall in the pension fund and the need to jointly address it, given the challenging business environment in the UK. The recommended proposal includes fair and balanced modifications to existing scheme arrangements to achieve this,” he said.
The company believes that the proposal continues to provide employees with a high-quality pension, the spokesperson said.
“The company hopes employees will recognise this recommendation as a positive way forward on pensions provision and one that gives us an opportunity to continue to work together to return the UK business to a profitable and sustainable future,” he added.