UK - Steel union ISTC has claimed victory after Caparo caved in to demands on pensions after five weeks of one day-strikes.
The ISTC is now recommending its members to approve the deal in a ballot to be held at the steel manufacturer's Scunthorpe, Tredegar and Wrexham plants.
Caparo has offered to reopen its defined benefit scheme with a 1/90th accrual rate. This is an improvement on a previous offer of a 1/100th scheme but less than the 1/80th scheme the union wanted.
ISTC general secretary Michael Leahy said: “The arrangement that we will be recommending not only delivers a secure pension to ISTC members, but will also reduce their contributions to the final salary scheme by one percentage point and limit the pension liability of the company in the future.”
Workers who wish to rejoin the company scheme will keep an unbroken pensions record and have a reduction in their contributions from 6% to 5% – but will have to pay an extra 1% in National Insurance contributions as the restored scheme will be contacted in to the state second pension.
The deal marks the end of the dispute – Britain’s first pensions strike – which started when the company froze its 1/60th scheme at the end of June without consulting either the unions or workers.
The ISTC has become increasingly militant over pensions and has issued a warning to steel giant Corus that members will not “sit by and watch” the company close its scheme to new employees and would strike if it did.
Leahy concluded: “Should any other ISTC members’ final salary scheme be threatened we will offer them the same support as our members at Caparo.”
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