Steel unions have secured a deal with Tata Steel to secure the future of jobs and production at Port Talbot and other steelworks across the UK.

The deal follows on from a "incredibly difficult" year in the industry. Tata Steel said thousands of jobs could be lost as they considered selling off its entire UK side of the business in March.

Unions have now met with Tata to secure a proposal, which will be balloted by union members ahead of a result next year.

One of the main proposals includes a promise to invest around £1bn ($1.2bn, €1.1bn) into the Port Talbot site in South Wales over the next 10 years.

The proposals include:

• Production - A guaranteed minimum five-year commitment to two blast furnace steel making, with a further commitment to reinvest in Blast Furnace 5 as part of a Capex investment plan.

• Jobs - A jobs pact equivalent to Tata's agreement with steelworkers at Ijmuiden in the Netherlands, which includes a commitment to seek to avoid any compulsory redundancies for five years.

• Investment - A comprehensive 10 year £1bn investment plan to support steel making at Port Talbot and secure the future of the downstream sites.

• Pension – Tata Steel will begin a consultation on the closure of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) to future accrual, replacing it with a defined contribution scheme with maximum contributions of 10% from the company and 6% from employees.

Several unions have praised the announcement. Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said: "The past year has been incredibly difficult for steelworkers and their families. When Tata announced in March that they planned to sell the steelworks, no one knew if they would have a job by Christmas.

"This proposal would secure jobs for years to come and bring serious investment not just to Port Talbot but to steelworks across the UK.

"Reaching this stage of the process is a credit to the hard work of our members who never gave up the fight to 'Save Our Steel' – it was their jobs on the line and it has been their campaign that has brought Tata to this position.

"This is not the end of the process and it will be for all our members to now vote on this proposal. We will continue to work closely with Tata and all levels of government as we seek to build a sustainable future for Britain's steel industry."

Dave Hulse, GMB National Officer, added: "This agreement would mean the blast furnaces at Port Talbot keep making steel and that steelworks across the UK get the investment they need to compete in the future. We've fought hard to save jobs and today's agreement is a credit to our members.

"Today's news is a step forward, but there is still much to be done. We will continue to fight for a level playing field for our industry; for action on energy costs, on business rates, and on the dumping of foreign steel."