Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24654

Posted on 17 February 2017 at 22:08 GMT

Tata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

Tata Steel workers marching to save their jobs - a Labour Party which backs nationalisation could revive dying industry, photo Scott Jones

Tata Steel workers marching to save their jobs - a Labour Party which backs nationalisation could revive dying industry, photo Scott Jones   (Click to enlarge)

Alec Thraves, Socialist Party Wales

Tata steelworkers have reluctantly accepted a 'gun to the head' pension deal which will end their final salary pension scheme and see it being replaced by an inferior defined contribution pension scheme.

Union leaders, Tata management, MPs, AMs and the Welsh government all repeated endlessly to the workforce: accept this deal or see the plant close.

Union leaders have attempted to justify their recommendation to accept the deal by portraying the changes as going from 'a gold-plated pension to a silver-plated pension'.

Unfortunately, this huge concession by the workforce still provides no guarantees for the jobs of Tata workers across the UK and particularly for the 4,000 workers in Port Talbot who now have to rely on Tata's so-called commitments to invest in the plant.

At a National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) meeting in Port Talbot in January, one ex-steelworker said that the 1 billion planned investment over the next ten years was dependant on Tata turning over 200 million profit a year, which is widely regarded as impossible with the rundown state of the plant.

A pledge to 'seek to avoid compulsory redundancies over the next five years' was also met with widespread cynicism.

And the deal doesn't prevent the danger of the 130,000 British Steel pension scheme members potentially entering the pension protection fund as part of the arrangement, resulting in at least a 10% cut to members' benefits. This threat was played up by all those promoting the deal, including the pension trustees, if the offer wasn't accepted.

Tata off-loading liabilities

One of the main motivations for ending the final salary pension scheme is to make a sale more attractive to possible buyers such as Krupp Thyssen, who will now not be responsible for the liability of the pension scheme.

What is to stop Tata selling the business and then putting the pension scheme into the pension protection fund? Scandalously this may be legal even though Tata would still be a profitable car business, although conveniently in a different division. This should be a warning to its Jaguar/Land Rover workers and pensioners - better to fight now together with the steelworkers.

One Port Talbot shop steward commenting on the 74% result in favour of the deal, said:

"All of the people I work with claim to have voted No to the proposals put to us in the ballot. Some feel that there's some kind of conspiracy going on, others just feel that so much pressure was put on the workforce by the management and unions that it pushed through the Yes vote.

It was only 3-4 weeks ago that we were told by the unions that they felt that due to the feedback they had been getting from union members, it was going to be a definite No vote. It was after this that 100 or so 'reps' met and decided that they needed to unanimously recommend a Yes vote.

Since then we have been warned that a No vote would result in the insolvency of Tata and the loss of our jobs. Most people I work with feel utterly betrayed by the unions"
.

Many workers will be hoping for the best but also need to prepare for the worst. This battle is unfortunately just beginning. Confidence in Tata is at rock bottom and understandably so.

The only real alternative to protect the long term future of the plant was the demand taken up by the Socialist Party, the NSSN, and some in the workforce, for the nationalisation of Tata steel under democratic workers' control and management. That would ensure investment, job security and a plan of production that can never be attained through multinational companies such as Tata, whose only concern is profitability at the expense of the workforce. That's what this grubby 'realistic' deal represents.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 17 February 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Steel:

triangleNo to Trump's trade war

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleThyssenKrupp - Tata steel merger

triangleHow the Single Market blocks socialist policies

triangleSteel workers at Rom Ltd strike for a pay rise

Pension:

triangleMiners demand end to pensions robbery

triangleStrike action forces bosses to retreat but keep the pressure on

triangleStrike continues: set dates for next national action

triangleLecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

Workers:

triangle'Vote Leave' fined: For a workers' Brexit

triangleVictory for Swansea postal workers against management victimisation

triangleConfronting the FLA pro-Trump demo - build a workers movement to defeat the far-right

Union:

triangleThem & Us

triangleNSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination

Jobs:

triangle600 more retail jobs on the line: workers must not pay for the bosses' high street crunch!

Pensioners:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/7/18

Swansea

Victory for Swansea postal workers against management victimisation

16/7/18

Far-right

Confronting the FLA pro-Trump demo - build a workers movement to defeat the far-right

13/7/18

Socialist Students

School students protest and walk out against Trump

11/7/18

National Shop Stewards Network

NSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination

11/7/18

Donald Trump

Hit the streets against Trump and capitalism

11/7/18

The Socialist

Issue 1000 drive shows sales potential

11/7/18

Fighting Fund

Tories fractured... election possibility... give us the resources!

11/7/18

NHS

Yes to NHS - No to PFI!

11/7/18

Leeds

NHS Leeds: Campaigners halt outsourcing... for now

11/7/18

Domestic violence

Women's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts

11/7/18

Unite

Unite conference sees union go in a fighting, socialist direction

11/7/18

Tyneside

Tyneside shopfitting plant lays off 61 workers

11/7/18

Huddersfield

Summer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute

11/7/18

Hackney

Hackney traffic wardens strike for better pay and protection at work

11/7/18

PCS

Campaign in full flow to squeeze out every last Yes vote in pay ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999