Tata Steel’s dispute with its UK workforce over plans to close its British Steel defined benefit pension scheme shows no sign of resolving itself, as workers prepare to take a number of steps — better known as “action short of strike action” — from Tuesday next week.
From 6 a.m. on June 16, all union members will neither work over time nor do work outside the strict remit of their written agreements, a spokesperson for the Unite union told BusinessLine . The action is likely to be ongoing, the spokesperson said.
Members of four unions, who represent over two-thirds of Tata Steel’s 17,000-strong workforce in the UK, are set to go on strike on June 22, in a one-day stoppage, under which only work essential to the safety, and to the integrity of the plant, will be carried out.
Unions have said they expect the impact of the 'action short of strike action' to “severely limit production.”
Members of the Community, Unite, UCATT and GMB unions voted in favour of a strike action over plans to close the defined benefit scheme, as well as some of the measures under the proposed new defined contribution scheme, including the end of an early retirement option (Tata Steel has said it will take steps to mitigate this though is yet to announce any measures).
Tata Steel had initially consulted on reforming the scheme, which has an estimated £2-billion deficit, but after failing to reach an agreement with the unions began consulting on replacing it with a defined contribution scheme.
Open to talks Earlier this week, the CEO of Tata Steel’s European operations, Karl Koehler, met MPs on the all-party parliamentary steel group. “Mr Koehler…reiterated that the company remains open even at this late stage to unconditional talks with the unions to find resolutions,” Tata Steel said in a statement following the meeting.