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UK unions call off scheduled strike at Tata Steel

PTI 20 Jun 2015, 12:33:12 PM IST

London: UK trade unions on Friday suspended the strike action scheduled for June 22 after a new pension offer from Tata Steel UK, which keeps British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) open.

Earlier this week, Community, Unite, Ucatt and GMB had temporarily suspended industrial action. "Steel unions — Community, Unite, GMB and UCATT — have suspended Monday's strike action at Tata Steel," a joint statement said.

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 unions further said: "They will prepare to ballot their members over a new pension offer, which keeps the BSPS open. The decision was taken at a meeting of 100 senior trade union delegates from across the company in London today." 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), it added.

"Details of the changes were presented today. Those present decided that the new offer could be put to a ballot of all union members and therefore strike action is suspended. The unions are recommending that the deal is accepted," it said.

Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee Roy Rickhuss said, “Through meaningful discussions and negotiations 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."

"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," he added. The 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," Rickhuss said.

The development comes after, Tata Steel, on June 14, had said it had approached British conciliation service ACAS in a bid to resolve the pension dispute with the trade unions.