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Agreement to Secure Tata Steel UK Jobs

Tata Steel UK has reached an agreement with trade unions to secure the jobs and production at its steelworks across the UK.

Representatives from the Community, Unite and GMB unions met with Tata Steel bosses yesterday (7 December 2016) today discuss proposals for the company's sites, which include Port Talbot, Newport, Rotherham, Walsall, Corby and Shotton.

They said they have now secured a guaranteed minimum five-year commitment to maintaining two blast furnaces at Port Talbot, with a further commitment to reinvest in Blast Furnace 5.

A deal has also been struck on the workers' pension plan, understood to be a major issue. Tata Steel will begin a consultation on replacing the current British Steel Pension Scheme with a "defined contribution scheme" with maximum contributions of 10 per cent from the company and 6 per cent from employees.

A commitment to seek to avoid any compulsory redundancies for five years has also been secured, together with a comprehensive ten-year £1bn investment plan to support steel making.

Koushik Chatterjee, group executive director at Tata Steel and executive director for its European business, said: "The delivery of Tata Steel UK’s transformation plan and generation of free cash flows will be the key enabler for the future sustainability of the business and we are very encouraged by the early signs of the delivery of the plan.

"The proposed changes to future pension provision and other employment terms are necessary to de-risk the company and help achieve long-term sustainability. We are also working separately on a necessary structural solution for the British Steel Pension Scheme fund."

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of steelworkers union Community, added: "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.

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

Tata Steel announced the planned disposal of its UK sites earlier this year, putting more than 15,000 jobs at risk.

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