Tata Steel UK, trade unions to strike from 22 June over pension scheme changes

Trade unions representing workers of Tata Steel in the UK have decided to strike from 22 June over proposed changes to the company's pension scheme - the biggest industrial action in the UK in nearly three decades.

Tata Steel, which employs a workforce of 17,000 in the UK across four sites, termed the unions' decision as ''very disappointing'' and promised to soften the impact of the changes, which include employees retiring at 65 instead of 60.

Ahead of the ''strike action''  employees  would refrain from over-time and would observe work-to-rule next week in the escalating dispute.

''Steel unions have agreed Monday June 22 as the date for strike action at Tata Steel in their ongoing pensions dispute,'' said Community union, which has the largest number of members who are employed at Tata Steel.

According to Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community, Tata had given workers ''no option'' but to resort to industrial action.

He added, the company had not shown any inclination to return to meaningful negotiations to end the dispute. He said the company could avoid this by returning to the table.

However, according to the UK's largest union, Unite, it was still open to talks if Tatas were ready for meaningful discussions.

Meanwhile, Tata Steel Ltd retreated much as 3.1 per cent in trade today, after unions representing workers at Tata Steel in the UK said they would go on strike on 22 June, according to the GMB union.

Tata Steel traded 1.4 per cent lower at Rs 298.20 after hitting a low of Rs 293.30 and a high of Rs 299.20 in trade today.

Community, Unite and UCATT are the other three unions involved in the action.

A Tata Steel spokesman said, ''We have been trying to develop an affordable and sustainable pension scheme for employees so we are very disappointed by today's announcement on strike and industrial action.

''Everyone agrees that changes need to be made to resolve the challenges facing our pension scheme, which has a projected shortfall of over 2 billion pounds.

''We will soon be announcing new measures which will lessen the impact of the proposed pension changes, particularly on our longest-serving employees nearing retirement age.''