Unions representing Tata Steel workers in the United Kingdom have temporarily suspended industrial action that began on Tuesday, and will begin consulting members, after the steel giant made a new offer to the unions over pension arrangements, which could keep the existing defined benefit scheme open.
However, they are yet to cancel plans for an all-out strike next week.
On Wednesday, the Tata Steel stock ended up ₹10.65 or 3.62 per cent at ₹305.10 on the BSE.
Consultation process At an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon, principles of the new offer were presented to members of community, one of the four unions representing workers.
“Those present at the meeting agreed that the company had shifted its position to such an extent that industrial action could be suspended temporarily and steps could be taken to consult members on the revised offer,” the union said in a statement late on Tuesday.
This consultation process will kick off on Friday when senior union delegates will be consulted.
Unions said that while the current industrial action – involving no overtime and doing no work over and above work agreements – would be suspended from Wednesday to 6 a.m. to this Saturday, Monday’s strike was still set to go ahead.
“This dispute isn’t over but through meaningful discussion and negotiation we have made some steps towards finding a resolution,” said Roy Rickhuss, said General Secretary of Community and Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee.
“We were always prepared to consider proposals which would help overcome the current challenges faced by the scheme and we knew that could be achieved while keeping the scheme open and recognising the importance of maintaining a good final salary pension.”
ACAS role The development comes after two days of talks between the two sides facilitated by Britain’s conciliation service, ACAS.
Tata Steel approached ACAS over the weekend, ahead of this week’s industrial action.
Unions announced plans for strike action last month over Tata Steel proposals to close the £14-billion defined benefit pension scheme.
Reform pension scheme The unions and Tata Steel first failed to agree on plans to reform the scheme, and the company subsequently began consulting on closing the scheme entirely and replacing it with a defined contribution scheme.
The old scheme, which dates back to British Steel days, has an estimated £2 billion deficit.
Tata Steel has said it remained committed to providing a high-quality pension scheme.
Unions opposed a number of measures in the proposed changes, including an end to early retirement.