BMW group car workers who make the iconic Mini and prestigious Rolls-Royce begin voting in a consultative action ballot today (Monday 31 October) amid accusations of a ‘pensions robbery’ over the carmaker’s plans to rush through the closure of their final salary pension scheme.
The ballot, involving over 5,000 Unite members across sites in Cowley, Farnborough, Goodwood, Hams Hall in the West Midlands and Swindon, follows mounting anger over the plans which could see workers losing thousands of pounds a year in retirement income.
Despite enjoying record profits of £5.7 billion last year and handing out a massive £1.8 billion in dividends to shareholders, BMW bosses have expressed a refusal to negotiate meaningfully over keeping the scheme open.
The consultative ballot closes on Monday 7 November and could be followed by a full statutory strike ballot.
In recent weeks, AWE Plc (the Atomic Weapons Establishment), Gatwick Airport Ltd, US multinational Honeywell and the Post Office have all announced that they are planning to close their defined benefit pensions. Unite has pledged to fight the move to close the final salary pension schemes by all these organisations.
Commenting Unite national officer Tony Murphy said: “BMW workers in the UK have worked hard to deliver record profits for the company and view a cut in their future pension as no different than a cut in their pay packet.
“In the last year alone BMW generated profits in excess of £5 billion, dishing out £1.8 billion to shareholders. BMW’s rush to close the final salary pension scheme is short term opportunism which will rob world class carmakers of the future retirement they have worked hard for.
“Over the coming days we will be urging our members to vote yes to action in the consultative ballot to stop the pensions robbery and call on BMW to honour its pension promises and negotiate meaningfully over keeping the pension scheme open.”
*BMW group latest annual results 2015. Currency conversion from euros to Sterling correct as of 21/10/16.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.