Steel workers in South Yorkshire and across UK to vote on strike over pensions

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Steel workers in South Yorkshire and across the UK will vote on whether to take strike action in a row over pensions.

A total of 6,000 Tata Steel workers are set to be balloted after the firm announced proposals to close the British Steel pension scheme (BSPS).

Currently workers can retire at 60 without a pension reduction, but the firm wants to move that to 65, according to the Unite union.

Unite is balloting for strike action, or other industrial action ‘short of a strike’ from May 26 until June 5.

Steel unions Community, GMB and Ucatt have already opened their ballots, which close on May 29.

Unite national officer for steel Paul Reuter said: “Following five months of intensive negotiations where the trade unions offered savings to the company of £850 million, Tata Steel UK has decided that it is ideologically wrong for employees, who have worked hard in an extremely strenuous and physically demanding environment, to be able to retire with the pensions that they were originally promised.

Tata Steel UK is consulting our members on its proposal to close the pension scheme and to financially penalise workers and their families in retirement. Our members have made it clear that the proposed changes are totally unacceptable.

“Unless Tata Steel UK enters into further meaningful negotiations that would preserve the pension scheme, then the first national industrial action in the industry for 30 years would seem inevitable.”