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Tata Steel members to be consulted on new offer

Friday, June 19, 2015

Members to be consulted in Tata Steel pensions dispute: 22 June strike off with industrial action suspended until July 24th.

It is now down to members to decide in a ballot vote but the unions are recommending acceptance says GMB.

100 senior shop stewards from GMB, Community, Unite and UCATT from Tata Steel, meeting in London on 19th June, 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.   See notes to editors for previous press releases from GMB on the dispute.

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

The overtime ban and work to rule from 6am on Saturday 20 June and the strike action on Monday 22 June have been called off. Shop stewards agreed to suspend industrial action at Tata Steel for 28 days until 24th July 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, Chair 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.”

Ends

Contact David Hulse 07971 266157 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to editors

Copy of GMB press release dated 8th June

UNIONS ANNOUNCE TATA STEEL STRIKE FOR MONDAY 22ND JUNE IN DISPUTE OVER PENSIONS

It’s time Tata got back round the table and looked for a way to resolve this dispute says GMB

GMB and the other steel unions have agreed Monday 22 June as the date for strike action at Tata Steel in their ongoing dispute over pensions. The strike action will be preceded by action short of strike action involving an overtime ban and a work to rule. The action short of strike action will begin as soon as legally practical around the middle of next week. Unions must give seven days’ notice of any industrial action.

Dave Hulse, GMB National Officer, said: “It’s time Tata got back round the table and looked for a way to resolve this dispute. Our members are ready for industrial action and the company should heed the message that their workforce is delivering.”

Roy Rickhuss, Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee, and General Secretary of the Community trade union, said “Tata have given us no option but take industrial action. The company has not shown any willingness to return to meaningful negotiations to find an end to this dispute. Our members are determined to stand up for their pensions. They delivered a massive vote in favour of industrial action, so that is what will happen. An overtime ban and work-to-rule will cause massive disruption to Tata’s operations and severely limit production. The company could avoid this by returning to the table. But in the meantime all the unions will also be making preparations for a national day of strike action on 22 June.”

Paul Reuter, National Officer at Unite said: “We are still open to talks if Tata are prepared for meaningful discussions. We have offered Tata the savings it says it needs. But the company wants to close the scheme altogether. This is not acceptable to workers, which is why industrial action will start next week.”

Nick Blundell, Regional Secretary for UCATT said: “Tata should listen to its workforce and recognise that to resolve this dispute it needs to get back round the table with the unions for meaningful discussions. Industrial action is a last resort for any union but Tata has given us no choice.”

Ends

Press release dated 1st June 2015.

GMB MEMBERS IN TATA STEEL VOTE FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION OVER CLOSURE OF STEEL PENSION SCHEME TO FUTURE ACCRUAL

Members have sent a clear message to the company that they will not sit back and let them take away their hard earned pensions says GMB

GMB members have voted in favour of industrial action in an official ballot over Tata Steel's proposal to close the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). GMB will post the details in due course. See notes to editors for copy previous of GMB press releases on the dispute over plans to close the scheme.

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 “GMB members have sent a clear message to the company that they will not sit back and let them take away their hard earned pensions.

The company need to take the threat away of closing the final salary scheme and comeback around the table to have meaningful negotiations before this is taken out of their hands. Our members will take whatever action is needed to keep the scheme open.

We have lost faith in the company and its leadership and believe the company are putting the business at serious risk. They now have an opportunity of putting things right by sitting down with the steel committee and having meaningful discussions that is acceptable to all.”

End

GMB press release dated 29th April

TATA STEEL PROPOSAL TO CLOSE PENSION SCHEME TO FUTURE ACCRUAL

Our members are determined to stand up for their pensions and they will now have the opportunity to show their resolve by voting for strike action says GMB

GMB and two other UK steel unions Community and UCATT on 27th April gave official legal notice to Tata Steel UK Ltd about their intention to ballot their members for industrial action in the ongoing dispute over pensions. See notes to editors for copies of previous GMB press release on the Tata pensions dispute.

Unite, a fourth steel union, is expected to give notice in the next few days. Ballot papers will be posted to union members from Wednesday 6 May. The ballot is expected to end on Friday 29th May.

 The unions are urging their members to vote in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.

Dave Hulse, GMB National Officer for steel, said “Tata has refused to sit down and talk again about a proper solution and has given us no option but to ballot our members. Our members are determined to stand up for their pensions and they will now have the opportunity to show their resolve by voting for strike action.”

Roy Rickhuss, Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee and General Secretary of Community, said “Unfortunately there is no sign of Tata showing any willingness to work in a collaborative and co-operative spirit and re-enter meaningful discussions with the trade unions about the future of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). To defend the hard-earned pensions of our members we have no choice but to ballot for industrial action.

This is not a situation we wanted to find ourselves in. The unions were prepared to discuss changes that resolved the challenges faced by the scheme but Tata rejected that constructive offer. We are urging our members to vote for strike action.”

Nick Blundell, UCATT Regional Secretary for Ucatt, said “Our members are united in their opposition to the closure of their pension scheme and we are urging them to vote yes in the ballot to defend their pensions.”

End

GMB press release 13th April:

GMB SET MAY DATES FOR BALLOT FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION OVER TATA STEEL PROPOSAL TO CLOSE PENSION SCHEME TO FUTURE ACCRUAL

We are sending are clear message to the company that nobody wants to see the scheme closed because they know the impact it will have on themselves and their families says GMB

GMB and the other steel unions Community, Unite, and UCATT will give an official notice on 27th April that on Wednesday 6th May they will commence an official ballot for industrial action over Tata Steel's proposal to close the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release of 13th March on the dispute over plans to close the scheme.

The ballot is expected to end on Friday 29th May. The unions are continuing to take legal advice and making preparations to ensure that the ballot meets all legal requirements and cannot be challenged by Tata.

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 "GMB members want to stand up to Tata and stand up for their pension scheme. By balloting for industrial action we are sending a clear message to the company that nobody wants to see the scheme closed because they know the impact it will have on themselves and their families”.

Roy Rickhuss, Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee and General Secretary of Community, said "Tata Steel Europe management have not taken up the unions' offer to re-enter discussions about the pension scheme. 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. Closing the pension scheme will not help our members, their families or their communities. Steelworkers want to stand up to Tata and stand up for their pension and a positive vote in the ballot will enable that to happen."  

Harish Patel, National Officer for steel at Unite, said "All the unions are working together to defend our members' pensions. There can be no doubt about the strength of feeling among employees in opposition to Tata Steel Europe's unnecessary and unjustified decision to close the British Steel Pension Scheme. The only solution now to change the company's course of action is to ballot for industrial action."

End

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