MP’s concern over steelworker’s pensions

Have your say

A South Yorkshire MP has criticised a steel firm over reported plans to off-load its pension liabilities onto a government compensation scheme.

Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey has today criticised Tata over reported plans to off-load its UK pension liabilities on to the state-backed Pension Protection Fund, after the company suggested this could happen in a meeting with the steel unions.

The PPF is an organisation established to help people get their pensions from a company in the event of insolvency.

Tata employs hundreds of workers in sites at Stocksbridge and Rotherham.

The India-based company had previously said it would look to alter the terms of the scheme in order to avoid passing it on to the fund.

However, in a statement, steel unions Community, GMB and Unite claim that during a meeting on August 31 ‘Tata made it clear that the previous proposals to amend scheme benefits in order to avoid entering the Pension Protection Fund’ now appeared as if they would be ‘difficult to deliver’.

Mr Healey said: “I am shocked and disappointed to hear that Tata is considering backing away from its pension commitments.

“Since the company announced it would be selling its UK operations earlier this year, workers have been kept in the dark about their pensions. This is unacceptable.”

A Tata Steel spokesman said: “We continues to responsibly develop options to identify the best prospects for the future sustainability of its UK operations and the best outcome for members of the British Steel Pension Scheme.

“We support the view of the pension scheme trustee that viable alternatives exist which would enable the British Steel Pension Scheme to remain outside the PPF, benefiting the vast majority of members.”