Tata Steel improves DB pension plans

Tata Steel has made a new offer to employees, which will see its final salary pension scheme remain open and avert strike action.

Tata Steel-2015

More than 17,000 employees that are members of trade unions Community, Unite, the GMB and UCATT were due to walk out for 24 hours on 22 June.

The dispute has centred around the closure of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS), which has a deficit of £2 billion, and rules that could have see employees retiring at 65 instead of 60.

According to Tata Steel, the new proposals include fair and balanced modifications to existing scheme arrangements.

Members will now be balloted over the new offer, which would keep the pension scheme open.

Unions are also recommending that staff accept the new deal.

A Tata Steel spokesman said: “We are pleased that a meeting of trade union delegates from Tata Steel sites across the UK agreed to recommend to members a proposal which would enable UK employees to retain a modified final salary pension scheme.

“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.

“We believe that the proposal continues to provide employees with a high-quality pension.

“The trade unions have lifted the one-day strike scheduled for Monday June 22 and have extended the suspension of industrial action announced last week until after the unions have consulted their members on the modification proposal.

“Tata 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.”

Harish Patel, national officer at Unite, added: “The British Steel pension scheme 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.”