Workers expected to lose generous pensions in plan to secure future of Port Talbot steelworks

The future of Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales has been shrouded in uncertainty for months. Credit: PA
  • Video report by ITV News Wales Correspondent Rupert Evelyn

Plans to secure the future of Port Talbot steelworks are to be unveiled to staff in a bid to end months of uncertainty.

Officials from the Community, Unite and GMB unions will discuss proposals with representatives from Tata plants across the country.

There had been fears that jobs would go at the Tata Steel plant which employs more than 4,000 and that the entire economy of a region would be wiped out after it was put up for sale in March.

However, in order for jobs to be saved workers will have to give up good pensions, but it is thought both blast furnaces will be kept in operation for the next five or six years, though the plant's long term future remains uncertain.

While the expected plan has raised morale in the area, discussions on it were ongoing late on Tuesday night, and the plan was branded "not acceptable at the moment" by one union official.

Graham Rowland, who works at the Port Talbot plant previously told ITV News of low morale and difficult times at the steel works, but now believes things are looking up.

"I think we feel a lot better this Christmas than we did last Christmas, where it looked like that was the end of it, the end of the works, the end of the steel industry in the UK.

"It's not a nice thing to be taking a hit with whatever, but what other choice do we have?"

Tata Steel worker, Kerry Sheehy echoed Mr Rowland's sentiments, adding that the works were at the heart of the town.

"The future of the town would be very different if a steel plant doesn't exist, so I think everyone is looking for some kind of reassurance that the company will continue to trade from Port Talbot."

Steelworker Kerry Sheehy. Credit: ITV News

Along with the workers who helped deliver a plan to turn around the business, rising steel prices and a weak pound have also helped provide a more positive outlook for the plant's employees.

The firm made a net loss of £358 million during the second quarter to June, amid continued uncertainty over its UK operations.Along with the workers at Port Talbot, Tata Steel also has plants at Trostre and Shotton in Wales, Corby, Hartlepool and in the West Midlands.