The systematic dismantling of final salary pension schemes was planned by the Roundtable of Industrialists who put pressure on the European Union to lead the charge throughout the continent. The EU started as the European Steel and Coal Community with the plan of running down steel and coal production in most European countries. This led to the demise and privatisation of British Steel. Now one of the largely foreign owned remaining steel companies, Tata, has threatened the final salary pension scheme of steel workers. The unions have responded by a successful vote for strike action.
Unions announce Tata Steel strike date
On 8 June 2015 steel unions agreed Monday 22 June as the date for strike action at Tata Steel in their ongoing pensions dispute. The strike action will be preceded by action short of a strike involving an overtime ban and a work to rule. This will begin as soon as legally practical around the middle of next week. Unions must give seven days’ notice of any industrial action.
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 to 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.”
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.” 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.”