Agreement to secure Tata Steel UK jobs

Steel unions say they have a commitment from Tata to secure the future of jobs and production at Port Talbot and other steelworks across the United Kingdom - but the deal does not cover South Yorkshire.

More than 4,500 jobs at the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales have been saved after owner Tata Steel committed to keeping the site open and investing £1bn over the next decade.

Shares of private sector steel manufacturer Tata Steel surged over 3 percent in early morning trade on Thursday as the company said it would remain engaged in United Kingdom facilities for 10 years with a 1 billion pound investment commitment.

'After a detailed discussion, union reps have agreed to ballot all members on the proposal in the new year'.

It comes after Tata said in March it planned to dispose of its United Kingdom steel assets - some of which it has sold already.

But Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said Speciality Steels in Stocksbridge and Rotherham were not covered by the announcement.

If the plan is agreed, it could see investment in the Welsh site in return for concessions on staff terms and conditions and would mean job security for thousands of workers, according to United Kingdom media reports.

The talks follow Tata's decision in March to put the United Kingdom business up for sale.

However, the burden of the 130,000-member pension scheme attached to the business proved a massive hurdle to potential bidders and Tata "paused" the sale, saying it was exploring a tie-up with European rival ThyssenKrupp.

They are concerned that if they agree to let Tata close the current British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS), the company will look to spin it off into a standalone entity that could eventually fall into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) if necessary. Union members must still vote on the measures and representatives of the leadership said that the government would still need to do its part to help the deal happen.

Community said it was continuing to work hard to secure a future for these sites. A fortnight ago it was revealed Liberty was in late-stage talks with Tata about buying its Yorkshire-based specialty steel business. These are unprecedented times for the steel industry globally with multiple risks including global economic uncertainty, slow manufacturing growth and currency volatility which continues to present significant challenges to the business.

Tata employs about 7,000 staff at its Welsh operations.