Tata Steel workers in UK approve new turnaround plan

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The new turnaround plan proposed by Tata Steel in the UK won overwhelming approval from labor unions in a vote, reported Economic Times. The plan is aimed at protecting jobs and avoiding potential sale or closure of the steelmaking plant in the country.

In December, Tata Steel had reached an agreement with the agitating unions to invest 1 billion pounds in the loss-making Port Talbot steel plant over the next 10 years, and also to avoid compulsory job redundancies.

A process has been initiated to scrap the expensive British Pension Scheme and replace it by defined contribution scheme, which will lower uncertainty in payouts. The new scheme will have a maximum contributions of 10 percent from the company and 6 percent from employees.

Members of three unions at sites in Wales, Scotland, South Yorkshire and Teesside all supported the new proposals, according to BBC online.

A one-off pension contribution of up to £10,000 could be made to Tata workers in their 50s who plan to retire early.

The vote brings an end to almost a year of uncertainty for thousands of workers who faced losing their jobs when Tata’s UK business was put up for sale in March 2016.

According to Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, “This result provides a mandate from our members to move forward in our discussions with Tata and find a sustainable solution for the British Steel Pension Scheme.”

There was no update from the company on its ongoing discussion to merge with Thyssenkrupp.

It’s been pointed out that the new strategy by the global giant to continue to invest in UK is contrary to former Chairman Cyrus Mistry’s strategy to either exit or merge UK steelmaking operation without any guarantee on jobs.

Meanwhile, Tata Motors on Tuesday reported a 96 percent fall in quarterly profits, due to the demonetization by the Indian government which hit domestic business and weak sales at its luxury Jaguar Land Rover unit, reported AFP.

Consolidated net profit for the three months ending December fell to $16.73 million from 29.53 billion rupees a year earlier, the Mumbai-based company said.

Revenue fell 4.3 percent to 685.41 billion rupees.

Its Jaguar Land Rover business saw “lower wholesale volumes and relatively weaker product mix... and overall higher marketing expenses,” the company said in its statement.

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