STEELWORKERS at plants in Llanwern, Caerphilly, Port Talbot and elsewhere have voted to accept reforms to their pensions.
Union members working at the Tata Steel plants voted in favour of moving to a new, less generous scheme in return for a £1bn investment in the facilities and no compulsory job losses this afternoon.
Responding to the result, national officer for union GMB Dave Hulse said: "Now that steelworkers have done their bit it is time for the government step up and do theirs.
"Thousands of skilled jobs rely on steelmaking and the industry supports the whole UK manufacturing sector.
"Instead of insulting steelworkers by classing their industry as a 'low priority', the government set out as strategy for steel that recognises it as a high priority for investment and innovation."
National officer for Unite Tony Brady said: "This is not a decision our members have taken lightly.
"It has been a hellish time for them, their families and their communities as uncertainty has swirled around the steel industry over this past year or more.
"During that time steelworkers have made great sacrifices to ensure the UK’s world class steel industry has a future.
"Those sacrifices must be repaid by Tata Steel honouring its commitments on investment and job security.
"Nothing less would be a betrayal and add to the deep mistrust that steelworkers now have for the company.
"The UK government in Westminster must also repay the sacrifices and the commitment shown by steelworkers to their industry by stepping up to support steel and secure its future.
"Recent talk of steel being a low priority for UK government ministers in Brexit negotiations is shameful.
"The UK government must now work in lockstep with the Welsh Government and put steel at the heart of a manufacturing industrial strategy which ensures UK steel is used in all major infrastructure and defence projects."
General secretary of Community Roy Rickhuss said: "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.
"Steelworkers have taken a tough decision and have shown they are determined to safeguard jobs and secure the long-term future of steelmaking.
"Nobody wanted to be in this situation, but as we have always said, it is vital that we now work together to protect the benefits already accrued and prevent the British Steel Pension Scheme from free-falling into the Payment Protection Fund.
"This ballot involved an extremely personal decision for everyone that voted. Whichever way our members cast their votes, we know they will not have taken that decision lightly and everyone’s opinions must be respected.
"We now expect Tata to make good on their promises and deliver the investment plan for the whole of their steel business.
"The UK Government still has an important role to play and we fully expect them to deliver tangible support for steelmaking in the UK."
The three unions voted as follows:
- Yes: 72.1 per cent.
- No: 27.9 per cent.
- Turnout 70.5 per cent.
- Yes: 75.6 per cent.
- No: 24.3 per cent.
- Turnout: 69.2 per cent.
- Yes: 74 per cent.
- No: 26 per cent.
- Turnout: 51.5 per cent.
Tata employs about 1,300 people in Llanwern, 200 in Caerphilly and more than 4,000 in Port Talbot.