Workers vote yes in Tata steel rescue deal

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Workers vote yes in Tata steel rescue deal

The consultative ballots on Tata Steel's proposal on pensions, jobs, investment and production closed at noon.

All unions and officials have agreed to fully endorse the proposal which includes a £1bn investment over 10 years.

At the end of January, the Indian conglomerate giant, which employs approximately 8,000 jobs across Britain, proposed to invest approximately £1bn ($1.3bn) over the next 10 years to save its United Kingdom business, including the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales.

Workers from the Community, Unite, and GMB unions all backed the plan in separate ballots.

Tata says its United Kingdom unit, which is set this year to post its first profit in five years, will fail if it has to keep ploughing funds into a scheme with 13 times more pensioners than paying employees.

Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: "Steelworkers have taken a tough decision and have shown they are determined to safeguard jobs and secure the long-term future of steelmaking. Nobody wanted to be in this situation, but as we have always said, it is vital that we now work together to protect the benefits already accrued and prevent the BSPS from free-falling into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF)". Tata Steel's United Kingdom workers were under pressure to back a deal that secured jobs and investment because if the company fails, they will face deeper benefit cuts under PPF payout terms. "The government will play its role in supporting the steel industry to help deliver a sustainable future".

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Tony Brady, Unite's national officer, said Tata must now honour its commitments on investment.

He called on the government to "repay the sacrifices and the commitment shown by steelworkers to their industry by stepping up to support steel and secure its future".

"Now that steelworkers have done their bit, it is time for the government to step up and do theirs", David Hulse from the GMB added. Thousands of skilled jobs rely on steelmaking and the industry supports the whole United Kingdom manufacturing sector.

"We also repeat our calls for the United Kingdom government to urgently tackle the UK's high energy costs and continue to push for greater recognition of the steel industry in their new Industrial Strategy".

The steel jobs have been at risk since last March when Tata Steel announced it was putting its United Kingdom business up for sale amid losses of more than £1m a day. Following that, the process-ready steel can either be supplied to vehicle manufacturers directly, or sent to sites such as Tata Steel's Automotive Service Centre in Wednesfield for processing through one of its many automotive-market focused production lines.

"Locally I will continue to do everything I can to ensure the profitable and successful Tata Shotton plant, its management and workers are supported", he said.

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