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Steel workers suspend action

Industrial action by workers at Tata Steel has been temporarily suspended so a new offer on pensions can be considered.

Members of four unions at the steel giant started banning overtime and launched a work to rule at 6am today in protest at plans to close their final salary pension scheme. A 24-hour strike is due to be held next Monday.

Unions said that during talks at the conciliation service Acas, and continuing dialogue with the company, negotiators secured a new offer which they said means the pension scheme would remain open.

Community's national executive agreed that the company had shifted its position to such an extent that industrial action could be suspended temporarily and steps could be taken to consult members on the revised offer.

Consultation will begin with a meeting of senior union delegates from across the company on Friday.

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community said: "It is good that Tata Steel has finally seen sense, participated in the meaningful discussions that we have been calling for and changed its mind about closing the scheme.

"We were always prepared to consider proposals which would help overcome the current challenges faced by the scheme and we knew that could be achieved while keeping the scheme open and recognising the importance of maintaining a good final salary pension. This dispute isn't yet over but through meaningful discussion and negotiation we have made some steps towards finding a resolution."

David Hulse, national officer of the GMB, said: "We will put the outcome of the talks at Acas to senior shop stewards on Friday for them to decide whether to go back to the members on this."

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