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Unions and Tata strike a deal to save steelworks in UK

By Alan Jones

Steel unions say they have a commitment from Tata to secure the future of jobs and production at Port Talbot and other steelworks across the UK. A number of "significant" measures include keeping two blast furnaces at the South Wales plant for five years, a commitment to seek to avoid compulsory redundancies for a similar period, a 10-year investment plan of £1bn, and consultation on replacing the pension with a defined benefit scheme.

           

Unions said after a meeting in the town that the commitments on jobs, production and investment were welcome.

However, it added that the pension proposal was "worrying".

The future of Tata plants has been in doubt since its UK business was put up for sale in March.

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, 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.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said: "The past year has been incredibly difficult for steelworkers and their families.

"When Tata announced in March that they planned to sell the steelworks, no one knew if they would have a job by Christmas.

"This proposal would secure jobs for years to come and bring serious investment not just to Port Talbot, but to steelworks across the UK.

"Reaching this stage of the process is a credit to the hard work of our members, who never gave up the fight to 'Save Our Steel' - it was their jobs on the line and it has been their campaign that has brought Tata to this position.

This is not the end of the process and it will be for our members to now vote on this proposal. We will continue to work with Tata and Government as we seek to build a sustainable future for Britain's steel industry."

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