Len McCluskey, the leader of Britain’s biggest union, Unite has warned bosses of BMW that ‘serious industrial action will occur’ involving over 7,000 car workers if they continue to ignore their concerns and plough on with plans to close the defined benefit scheme by 31 May 2017.
The warning from the Unite general secretary, in a letter to senior managers, comes amid growing anger among car workers who make the iconic Mini and Rolls Royce motor car over BMW group’s plans to close their final salary scheme.
Despite Unite putting forward affordable proposals to keep the scheme open, BMW bosses have indicated they will press ahead with plans to close the scheme following a consultation which Unite has branded a ‘sham’.
Touching on the anger of the workforce, which has seen 96 per cent indicate a willingness to take industrial action in a consultative ballot, Mr McCluskey wrote: “At a recent meeting of senior Unite shop stewards from all plants, I was able to gauge the concern, frustration and anger of our members.
“It is evident that, if we do not resolve the differences that exist, then the likelihood of serious industrial action will occur.”
In a bid to break the ‘impasse’ that has been reached over the company’s plans, Mr McCluskey added: “I am therefore suggesting that I meet with senior members of BMW management to review current positions” before concluding that he expected the company to put on hold “any timetable that the company may be working to until we meet.”
BMW group’s plans come at the same time as it recorded record profits of approximately £6 billion and shareholders saw their dividends shoot up by a whopping 10 per cent on the year before to nearly £2 billion.
BMW has agreed to the request for a meeting, which will take place at Cowley on Monday (20 February) and involve Mr McCluskey, Unite representatives and senior BMW bosses.
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