Employees at Tata Steel are to be balloted on industrial action over the steel-making firm’s proposed closure of its defined benefit pension scheme.
Trades unins Unite, Community, GMB and the Union of Construction, Allied Traders and Technicians (UCATT) intend to open the ballot for member of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) on 6 May, if the matter is not resolved before this date.
The ballot is scheduled to end on 29 May.
Roy Rickhuss, chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee and general secretary of Community, said: “Tata Steel has 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’s decision to close the BSPS is in line with Tata’s values, which commit to improve the quality of life of the communities it serves. Closing the pension scheme will not help our members, their families or their communities.”
A spokesperson from Tata Steel said: “We are aware of the proposed date of the ballot. We tabled proposals to the national officers of the trade unions whereby the defined benefit scheme would remain open to future accruals subject to a number of modifications.
“As agreement with the trade unions on these proposals could not be reached, we have initiated a 60-day statutory consultation period with scheme members on a proposal to close the scheme to future accruals for existing members.
“The consultation process provides opportunities for employees to comment on the proposals and to suggest alternatives that they wish us to consider, other than the proposal of closure to future accrual. Tata Steel also remains committed to providing employees with competitive future pension provision.”