As of December 2014, the British Steel Pension Scheme had 143,000 members, with 17,004 making up employee members and 91,264 making up pensioner members. As of November 2014, the assets of the scheme were valued at around £13.6 billion and continue to increase..
Dave Hulse, GMB National Officer, said “GMB members want to stand up to Tata and stand up for their pension scheme. By balloting for industrial action we are sending a clear message to the company that nobody wants to see the scheme closed because they know the impact it will have on themselves and their families”.
Roy Rickhuss, Chair of the National Trade Union Steel Co-ordinating Committee and General Secretary of Community, said “Tata Steel Europe management have not taken up the unions’ offer to re-enter discussions about the pension scheme. Our members are determined to stand up for their pension and therefore we have no option but to proceed to an industrial action ballot in May. We do not believe Tata Steel Europe’s decision to close the BSPS is in line with Tata’s values, which commit its companies to improve the quality of life of the communities they serve. Closing the pension scheme will not help our members, their families or their communities. Steelworkers want to stand up to Tata and stand up for their pension and a positive vote in the ballot will enable that to happen.”
Harish Patel, National Officer for steel at Unite, said “All the unions are working together to defend our members’ pensions. There can be no doubt about the strength of feeling among employees in opposition to Tata Steel Europe’s unnecessary and unjustified decision to close the British Steel Pension Scheme. The only solution now to change the company’s course of action is to ballot for industrial action.”