Plans to close the final salary pension scheme for about 5,000 BMW car workers will be fought ‘tooth-and-claw’, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 27 September).
Unite expressed fury at the announcement that German-owned BMW plans to close its two final salary pension schemes to future benefits from 1 June 2017.
Unite has called meetings today (Tuesday 27 September) of both the pension committees and shop stewards’ committees at all four BMW sites - Oxford, Swindon, Hams Hall, Coleshill in West Midlands and the Rolls Royce site in Chichester, West Sussex.
The 60-day consultation period is due to begin on Thursday (29 September) with letters going out to members of the scheme from the company yesterday (Monday 26 September).
Unite is also planning to hold a consultative ballot to gauge members’ opinions during the 60-day consultation to show the company the union intends to fight this plan by whatever means possible.
Unite national officer for the automotive industries Tony Murphy said: “It is clear that our members will be losing thousands of pounds a year in retirement incomes, if this proposal is allowed to go ahead.
“This is plainly unacceptable and Unite will be fighting this proposal tooth-and-claw. It is becoming increasingly too easy for highly profitable multi-national companies to energetically salami-slice workers’ pensions in pursuit of even greater profits.
“BMW is blaming both the increase in national insurance payments and the cost of future liabilities as to why the final salary pension has become unaffordable, although, ironically, profits are still rising in the last two quarters.”
The company wants the staff to join its defined contribution (DC) scheme which relies on the vagaries of the stock market. This DC scheme already has about 2,000 members.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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.