Tata Steel UK at centre of Middlesbrough dispute over ‘arm’s length’ move for R&D staff
Tata Steel UK could become embroiled in a nationwide dispute, if its research and development staff in Middlesbrough are forced to work for an arm’s length organisation where their pay and pensions could be under threat.
The staff, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action to remain employed by Tata and not employed by the Materials Processing Institute, set up by Tata.
The 29 R&D staff at the Teesside Technology Centre voted by a margin of 69 per cent to take strike action and industrial action short of a strike.
Unite national officer Paul Reuter called on Tata Steel to return to the negotiating table before the employees name the date for industrial action.
Paul Reuter said: “Our members have a strong wish to remain employed by Tata Steel UK and not be employed by Materials Processing Institute, an arm’s length organisation. “The basis for this is that our members feel that their terms and conditions will be best protected by maintaining the identity of their current employer.”
He predicted that the R&D staff could lose “thousands of pounds” a year in pay and future pension pay-outs, if the transfer was allowed to happen.
He also said that the dispute could spread across Tata’s UK sites as the Middlesbrough members attract support from steel workers showing solidarity.