Pension row gathering steam at trainmaker Bombardier

Pension row gathering steam at trainmaker Bombardier

04 April 2016

A ‘nifty’ pensions’ move by the government has caused uproar amongst 1,700 workers at the trainmaker and maintenance company Bombardier who are set to lose an estimated £830-a-year.

As a result of the company’s refusal to pick up its share of pension contribution increases caused by the government’s ending of ‘opting out’ of state pensions, the workers are considering taking industrial action.

Unite, the country’s largest union, is comparing the hard line of Bombardier with that of the train operating companies which have agreed an equitable split of the increase with the employer paying 60 per cent. 

The £830-a-year loss is made up of the 60 percent employer contribution of £500 that Bombardier is refusing to pay, and £330 is the 40 per cent that the workers now have to pay because of the pension change.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hepworth said: “Despite several meetings already Bombardier’s management has insisted workers must pick up 100 per cent of the increase.

“We think the division of payment caused by this nifty, somewhat technical, move on pensions by ministers should be similar to that of the train operating companies. 

“It is particular galling as Bombardier is not refusing to meet this commitment for its employees who are still in the former British Rail pension scheme.

“Unite and the other unions want fair treatment for their members. If it does come to industrial action, it will cause chaos up and down the UK rail network, as well as disrupting manufacturing schedules for those carriages designated for the Crossrail project.”      

Unite, RMT, GMB and TSSA have 1,700 members affected in the train division with the main concentration of members based in Burton on Trent, Crewe and Derby.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: 

  • 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.