Production of the iconic Mini and prestigious Rolls-Royce motor car could be disrupted in the coming months after BMW group car workers massively backed industrial action in a consultative ballot over plans to rush through the closure of their final salary pension scheme.
The warning from Britain’s largest union, Unite came as its members at BMW voted by 96 per cent for strike action in the consultative ballot over plans which could see workers losing tens of 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.
Warning of mounting anger over what workers describe as a ‘pensions robbery’, Unite said it would now make arrangements to hold a full statutory strike ballot which could result in strike action unless BMW revisited its plans.
The consultative ballot involved around 4,000 Unite members across sites in Cowley, Farnborough, Goodwood, Hams Hall in the West Midlands and Swindon. Turnout was approximately 75 per cent.
Commenting Unite national officer Tony Murphy said: “This massive vote in favour of action demonstrates the depth of anger among BMW workers over the carmaker’s ‘pensions robbery’.
“BMW’s UK workforce has worked hard to help deliver record profits in excess of £5 billion for the carmaker. They feel betrayed by its rush to close their final salary pension scheme which will rob them of the future retirement they have worked hard for.
“Unite will now be making arrangements to move to a full statutory industrial action ballot which given the strength of feeling could result in industrial action in the coming months.
“We would urge BMW bosses to recognise the strength of feeling by negotiating meaningfully over keeping the pension scheme open and honouring their pensions promises.”
In recent weeks, US multinational Honeywell; Gatwick Airport Ltd; Diageo; and the Post Office have all announced that they are planning to close their defined benefit pensions along with the AWE Plc - the Atomic Weapons Establishment, where workers will be on strike next Monday (14 November).
*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.