North East Steel Workers To Strike

Thousand of steel workers, including many in the North East, are planning a strike in a long-running row over pensions.

Members of four trade unions working at Tata Steel, that has plants in Hartlepool and Redcar, will walk out for a day on June 22, and will ban overtime and work to rule from the middle of next week.

The move follows votes in favour of strikes in protest at the closure of their final salary pension scheme.

Around 13,000 workers are involved in the dispute, and the strike will be the first in the steel industry for 35 years.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community, said:
"Tata have given us no option but take industrial action. The company has not shown any willingness to return to meaningful negotiations to find an end to this dispute. Our members are determined to stand up for their pensions."

Paul Reuter, national officer at Unite, said:
"We are still open to talks if Tata are prepared for meaningful discussions. We have offered Tata the savings it says it needs. But the company wants to close the scheme altogether. This is not acceptable to workers, which is why industrial action will start next week.''

Dave Hulse, GMB national officer, said:
"It's time Tata got back round the table and looked for a way to resolve this dispute. Our members are ready for industrial action and the company should heed the message that their workforce is delivering.''

Nick Blundel, of Ucatt, said:
"Tata should listen to its workforce and recognise that to resolve this dispute it needs to get back round the table with the unions for meaningful discussions. Industrial action is a last resort for any union but Tata has given us no choice.''

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