Trade unions representing Tata Steel workers are set to ballot their members to take action after the steel giant announced it is to close its current pension scheme.
A Tata spokesman said that it would consult employees on the closure of the pension scheme – a move which will affect around 17,000 workers.
It proposes to replace it with a defined contribution scheme.
However Roy Rickhuss, general Secretary of the Community trade union and chairman of the National Trade Union Steel Coordinating Committee said: “It appears they are hellbent on closing the scheme and are not prepared to compromise. We have lost all faith in the company and its leadership, which has brought us to the brink of a major national industrial dispute for the first time in over 30 years.
Mr Rickhuss said it was disappointing that it had made it this far, with unions having neen in discussions with Tata Steel since November last year.
“We have made every effort to compromise with the company, even discussing the possibility of meeting the deficit through changes to member benefits,” Mr Rickhuss said.
Tata Steel will begin a statutory 60-day consultation about the changes on March 23, and is proposing closure of the scheme on April 1, 2016.