A series of eight 24 hour strikes combined with an overtime ban and work to rule, involving up to 3,500 BMW workers making engines and the iconic Mini and Rolls-Royce motorcars will start on Wednesday 19 April, Britain’s largest union Unite, announced today (Wednesday 5 April).
The walkouts over BMW’s plans to close the final salary pension scheme will be the first ever by BMW’s UK workforce and follows a 93 per cent vote in favour of strike action by workers at the German carmaker’s sites at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon.
It is expected that production will be significantly disrupted by the action, which involves workers from across the four sites who are members of BMW (UK) operations pension scheme. The 24 hour stoppages stretching over five weeks across all four sites are scheduled as follows:
- Wednesday 19 April – workers at Cowley, Hams Hall and Swindon strike
- Sunday 23 April – workers at Cowley and Swindon strike
- Wednesday 3 May – workers at Hams Hall strike
- Friday 5 May – workers at Rolls-Royce at Goodwood strike
- Tuesday 16 May – workers at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon strike
- Thursday 18 May - workers at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon strike
- Sunday 21 May – workers at Cowley and Swindon strike
- Wednesday 24 May – workers at Goodwood and Hams Hall strike
Workers have expressed alarm over BMW’s plans which could see some UK workers lose up to £160,000 in retirement income. Last week a delegation of BMW UK workers headed the carmaker’s headquarters in Munich to protest and hand in a petition accusing bosses of ‘pension robbery’.
BMW’s plan to close the pension scheme by 31 May 2017 comes as figures last month showed a surge in BMW Group’s net profit of eight per cent to €6.9 billion, as well as a record year for Mini sales and a six per cent rise in Roll-Royce sales.
Commenting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “BMW’s refusal to talk about affordable options to keep the pension scheme open means a sizable chunk of its UK workforce will be taking strike action for the first time in the coming weeks.
“Bosses in the UK and BMW’s headquarters in Munich cannot feign surprise that it’s come to this point. Unite has repeatedly warned of the anger their insistence to railroad through the pension scheme’s closure would generate and the resulting industrial action.
“BMW’s bosses need to get their heads out of the sand and recognise their pension pinching plans will not go unchallenged. BMW’s UK workers have contributed significantly to a record year in revenues and sales for the carmaker. They deserve better than broken pension promises and the loss of tens of thousands of pounds in retirement income.
“I urge BMW to step back from its May deadline for the pension scheme’s closure and negotiate seriously to find a settlement which is good for the business and good for the workforce.”
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.