Tata Steel Reported $889 Million Quarterly Loss Due to Labour Unrest at UK Plant

Tata Steel UK’s biggest trade union ‘UCATT‘ voted on Friday to go on strike. Its Parent Organization Tata Steel India has reported $889 million quarterly loss, inflated by a hefty impairment on its UK business. 

IndiaCSR News Network

NEW DELHI: Global steel giant, Tata Steel Ltd  has reported a quarterly loss of $889 million on May 20 due to labour unrest at its UK based steel manufacturing facilities. Union community are demanding better pension scheme for labours working in the steel plant. The scene has set for the biggest labour action in the British steel sector in three decades.

Surprisingly, there is no information on Tata Steel’s official website about labour unrest at its UK Plant.

Tata Steel UK’s biggest trade union community voted 88% on Friday (May 29, 2015) in favour of going on strike while the smaller GMB union said its members also approved strike action. The union members are locked in a dispute with the company about its proposal to change their pension scheme.

BBC report said that the dispute is over proposed changes to pensions which could see employees retiring at 65 instead of 60. GMB and UCATT members also voted to strike. Unite members are still voting. Unite is balloting until next Friday. The four unions represent 17,000 steel workers.

“The union has now informed Tata of the result and are hoping the strength of feeling will lead to the company changing its proposals on pensions.”, BBC said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive of Tata Steel’s European operations Karl Koehler had sent an open letter to workers on May 29, urging them not to support the industrial action. He said, “Our actions have been aimed at developing an affordable and sustainable pension scheme through changes that are fair and balanced for all those who work for us…”

An open letter said Tata’s UK operations as a whole were still losing money. Profitability in Britain’s steel sector has become difficult due to cheap imports and sluggish demand, which has yet to recover to pre-2008 levels.

Birds fly above part of the TATA steel plant in Scunthorpe

The union, which did not give a date for a strike, said it was calling for Tata to return to negotiations. Unions have been balloting some 17,000 members for industrial action. Results from the UCATT union was expected later on Friday while a ballot by Unite is due to close next Friday.

Tata Steel said in a statement that the vote was ‘disappointing’ and that it was seeking to work with employees in a balanced way to tackle a pension fund deficit of up to $2 billion.

The UK steel sector’s labor, logistics and energy costs are higher even than mainland Europe, which itself struggles to compete globally.

UCATT Trade Union: Britains Biggest Trade Union

UCATT Trade Union  Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) is a British and Irish trade union which represents, as of December 2012, 84,377 workers in construction and allied trades.[2]

UCATT was formed in 1971 following the merger of the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers (AUBTW), the Association of Building Technicians and the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers and Decorators, which had itself been founded the previous year from a merger of the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers (ASW) and the Amalgamated Society of Painters and Decorators (ASPD).

The merged union was initially known as the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers, Painters and Builders, but changed its name later in the year. Its first general secretary was Sir George Smith, formerly General Secretary of the ASW, who was directly elected by the membership. Its Executive at the time incorporated paid officials who had been selected by an electoral process within the industry.

GMB Trade Union:

GMB Union has more than 631,000 members. GMB members work in near all industrial sectors, with many working in retail, security, schools, distribution and the utilities, social care, NHS and the ambulance service and local government.

The number of GMB members has grown by 56,000 since 2005 after many years of declining membership. the growth is the result of the GMB@WORK policy, a programme of national and regional targets that are selected through special criteria known as AIM.

GMB originates from a series of mergers, beginning when the National Amalgamated Union of Labour (NAUL), National Union of General Workers (NUGW) and the Municipal Employees Association in 1924 joined into a new union, named the National Union of General and Municipal Workers.

In 1982, following a merger with the Amalgamated Society of Boilermakers, Shipwrights, Blacksmiths and Structural Workers (ASBSBSW), the union was renamed the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union, from the initials of which its present name is derived

(IndiaCSR/ Reported with inputs from various media reports. 

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