Tata threatens to scrap 'favourable redundancy package' if steelworkers take strike action

Earlier this year, Tata Steel announced it would close both of Port Talbot's blast furnaces. Credit: PA Images

Tata Steel has threatened to withdraw some of the financial support if steelworkers decide to take industrial action.

It comes after the Indian conglomerate revealed details of its redundancy package for staff at the Port Talbot steelworks, describing it as the "most favourable financial package of support our business has ever offered".

The Community union is balloting members for strike action after Tata announced plans earlier in the year to close both blast furnaces at its Port Talbot site, which could result in up to 3,000 job losses.

A Community spokesman said: "We won't be bullied. Our priority is fighting for jobs and that's exactly what we're going to do."

In a statement, CEO Rajesh Nair said, "We will act responsibly and compassionately by providing generous support and assistance to all affected employees".

As part of the support package, the company put forward an offer of 2.6 weeks' worth of pay every year of an employee's service. That means all full-time staff who lose their job at the Port Talbot plant will receive at least £12,500.

Tata also have offered another £5,000 to staff as a goodwill payment. However this financial support will be scrapped if "attendance levels" fall below 96% in the months before redundancies.

In a letter to staff Mr Nair confirmed that these "enhanced" redundancy terms "are conditional upon there being no industrial action in the business".

Unions have said they are "prepared to fight" Tata Steel's plans for a greener future. Credit: PA Images

The Community union has 2,700 members across the Port Talbot, Llanwern and Trostre sites. Their ballot opens on 11 April and it will be open for a month.

Its national officer for steel, Alun Davies, said it did not believe the company were "serious about engaging"

He added they had "little choice than to put this issue to our members and ask them if they want to take the next step towards industrial action".

Unite has already started balloting its 1,500 workers, with the vote due to close on April 11th. The GMB union's ballot opens on 4 April.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…