Tata Steel: Unions secure commitment to the future of jobs and production

Video report by ITV News Wales Correspondent Rupert EvelynSteel unions say they have secured a commitment from Tata to keep the future of jobs and production at Port Talbot and other steelworks across the UK.

The proposal will be put to a ballot of union members, with a result not expected until the new year.

It follows discussions with officials from the Community, Unite and GMB unions with representatives from Tata Steel plants across the country.

The unions have described the measures agreed by Tata as "significant".

They include:

  • A guaranteed minimum five year commitment to keep two blast furnaces at the Port Talbot plant.

  • A job pact which includes a commitment to seek to avoid compulsory redundancies for five years.

  • A 10 year investment plan of £1bn, supporting steel making at Port Talbot.

  • A consultation on switching the pension to a defined benefit scheme.

Unions have welcomed the commitment to jobs, production and investment but have called the pension proposal a "serious concern".

Koushik Chatterjee, Group Executive Director of Tata Steel, said the changes to the pension provision are "necessary to de-risk the company and help achieve long-term sustainability".

He also said that the government need to play their part "in addressing the UK's manufacturing competitiveness".

Unite's National Officer, Tony Brady, also called on the government to do more:

"The commitments made today by our reps must now be followed by a commitment from the government that they will hold Tata to their word and ensure jobs are protected."

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union said: "This proposal would secure jobs for years to come and bring serious investment not just to Port Talbot but to steelworks across the UK."

The future of the plant in south Wales had been in doubt since March, when Tata announced it would be selling its UK business.

However the Indian conglomerate put the sale on hold in the summer as it considered a tie-up with German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp.

Tata employs thousands of workers across the UK, including more than 4,000 at Port Talbot, and others at Trostre and Shotton in Wales, Corby, Hartlepool and at sites in the West Midlands.