Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 15:51 UK

Steel workers to vote on action

Corus plant in Scunthorpe
Corus has announced several thousand job cuts this year

Thousands of workers at Corus are to be balloted on industrial action over the steel group's plans to close its final salary pension scheme to new entrants.

Leaders of the Community, Unite and GMB unions decided at a meeting in London to oppose the proposed changes.

They said in a statement: "Corus should be fully aware that the unions are saying enough is enough.

"Representatives have called for ballots for industrial action right across the company."

The summit in London was called after union representatives walked out of talks with Corus bosses on 3 September.

Corus has said it would be inappropriate to comment while pay and conditions talks were continuing.

The GMB, Community and Unite unions are also discussing a threatened Corus factory on Teesside.

The row comes after announcements by Corus earlier this year, in which it said it was cutting more than 4,500 jobs at its UK plants, including those in Scunthorpe, Teesside, Rotherham and Port Talbot.

Management's refusal to discuss cuts which hurt our members has set them on a collision course with the union
Michael Leahy, Community

At the centre of the row is a decision by Corus to end its final salary pension scheme to new employees. The unions fear the move would be the first step to closing down the scheme.

"We want to make it very clear that the unions are united in their determination to tell our members the truth behind Corus's decision and to expose their motivation which is to close the pension scheme completely," the unions' statement said.

"Members have seen thousands of job losses across Corus, their bonus has been removed unlawfully and now the company is attacking their pension.

The unions are also angry about a decision not to pay a bonus to employees at the Scunthorpe factory.

The summit also discussed the threatened Teesside Cast Products factory in Redcar.

The site is facing closure, with the loss of up to 2,000 jobs, after an international consortium pulled out of a 10-year deal to buy its steel.

Michael Leahy, Community's general secretary, said: "The urgency to find workable solutions is paramount.

"Management's refusal to discuss cuts which hurt our members has set them on a collision course with the union.

"Our members will have the final say on any decision but the company's deliberate antagonism means that we need to consider industrial action as a response."

The meeting comes days after delegates at the TUC conference backed two motions, calling for the pension scheme to be defended and the government to give more support to the steel industry.



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