Keep your noses out

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There has been nothing but indignation from union officials about politicians weighing in with their opinions on the current offer being made to steelworkers from Tata.

After so much uncertainty in 2016, Tata decided to hold on to the Welsh steel industry with extra investment as well as making a commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible.

But the sting in the tail is the revised, and less generous terms, on offer in the pension scheme.

Ballot papers go out to staff later this month; the decision of the workers will be known in February. It is unclear what would happen if they reject it.

Plaid Cymru has been vocal about its concerns, calling on them to turn the offer down. Bethan Jenkins effectively accused the firm of putting a gun to the head of the workers.


In response, Andy Richards, from Unite, and a former chair of Welsh Labour, has dismissed the advice, accusing the politicians of "opportunistic posturing" from the comfort of their own secure employment and public service pension schemes.

A clear message there then from him to all our elected representatives: keep your noses out.

So I'm not sure then how Andy Richards feels about the leader of Welsh Labour and First Minister Carwyn Jones making it abundantly clear that the workers should accept the deal in the first FMQs of 2017.

While he didn't explicitly urge the steelworkers to vote a certain way, he did say the proposal was said to be the best way of preserving jobs in the sector, and the only one on the table.

In reality, it was probably always unrealistic to expect politicians to keep their views to themselves.

I suspect the steelworkers will have to get used to people giving them advice about their future over the next few weeks.