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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 August 2009

Defend Corus workers' terms and conditions

After the fantastic support given to the Save Our Steel march at Redcar on 18 July, thoughts turned towards developing the solidarity of the steelworkers into a national campaign. A campaign that would put pressure upon the government to become directly involved in the struggling industry.

A Corus worker

Six days later, a national meeting of trade union delegates and national officers of the three main steel unions: Community, Unite and GMB gathered in London. This meeting was supposed to decide upon the response to the company's unilateral decision to cancel quarterly bonus payments.

However once the meeting commenced, national officers announced that the company had agreed to pay the bonus but would only do so at a later date and after the annual review of terms and conditions had taken place.

This is an attempt by Corus to initiate the scrapping of the bonus scheme and replace it with one that is based upon profit instead of production.

The momentum from Redcar has now disappeared but it must be quickly regained to fight the proposed closure of the final salary pension scheme to new entrants. If this proposal is allowed to succeed it will sound the death knell for the scheme.

Tata, the owners of Corus, have a history in this field after getting away with the closure of the pension scheme at Tetley.

They must not be allowed to get away with it at Corus.

The unions must unite on a national scale and insist that there will be no reduction of terms and conditions for their members.

They must also apply greater pressure upon the government to nationalise a core industry and send the message to the public that they intend to secure the manufacturing industries of the UK.

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Labour history comment

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