BMW workers at the home of the Mini in Cowley will be staging a second protest tomorrow (Friday 23 March) over the carmaker’s plans to close their final salary pension scheme.
Tomorrow’s protest from 12:00 – 15:00 will be held outside the main entrance on Eastern Bypass Road, Cowley OX4 6NL. It comes after talks yesterday between Unite and BMW ended at an impasse, with the carmaker refusing to explore options to keep the BMW occupational pension scheme open.
The protest and BMW’s refusal to engage meaningfully comes as an industrial action ballot involving members of Unite enters its final week over the carmaker’s plans to close the BMW occupational pension scheme. The ballot involving workers at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon closes on Friday 31 March.
BMW’s plan, to close the pension scheme by 31 May 2017, could see some of the car firm’s UK workforce lose up to £160,000 in retirement income. It follows figures from the carmaker earlier in the month, showing a surge in BMW Group’s net profit of eight per cent to €6.9 billion, as well as record year for Mini sales and a six per cent rise in Roll-Royce sales.
Commenting Unite national officer Tony Murphy said: “BMW Group’s continued refusal to discuss options for keeping the pension scheme open raises questions about how serious the carmaker is about resolving this dispute.
“BMW bosses’ state they are willing to negotiate seriously, but refuse to talk about anything which isn’t on their agenda. It’s like having a conversation with brick wall and unless BMW signals a willingness to discuss our members’ concerns there is little point in the talks continuing.
“BMW is sleepwalking into industrial action. I’d urge the management to wake up, recognise the depth of anger and negotiate a settlement which is good for the business and good for the workforce.”
Tomorrow’s protest comes ahead of Saturday’s (25 March) special Unite conference to secure the future of the automotive industry at Birmingham’s ICC. Bringing together representatives of its 95,000 auto members with industry leaders, the conference will outline a programme of investment and development for a vital UK industry. The conference runs from 10:00 – 15:00. Media wishing to attend the conference should email: Taylor Humphris to register.
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.