Rolls-Royce car workers strike for first time in livin...

Rolls-Royce car workers strike for first time in living memory over BMW ‘pension robbery’

04 May 2017

Workers at the luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce will be striking for the first time in living memory tomorrow (Friday 5 May), as the latest talks aimed at breaking the impasse over BMW Group’s pension changes adjourned without agreement today (Thursday 4 May).    

Tomorrow’s strike, involving members of Unite, is the latest to hit the BMW Group over its pension changes which could lead to some workers losing in excess of £160,000 in retirement income. 

Car workers making the world renowned Rolls-Royce cars, such as the Phantom and Ghost at Goodwood, near Chichester will be stopping work for 24 hours from 06:00 over BMW’s plans to close their final salary pension scheme.

Tomorrow’s action, at the carmaker which is owned by BMW, follows three 24 hour strikes involving workers at BMW’s Mini car plants in Cowley, Hams Hall in the West Midlands and Swindon. 

The stoppages saw production lines making engines, components and fully assembled Mini cars grind to a standstill. The Cowley production line turns out a Mini a minute on a typical day.

Picket lines will form outside the main gate at Rolls-Royce, The Drive, Westhampnett, Chichester, PO18 0SH from 06:00 tomorrow morning.

Commenting Unite national officer for BMW Fred Hanna said: “BMW bosses need to realise that workers who make the world renowned Rolls-Royce motorcars, along with their colleagues elsewhere in BMW UK will not roll over. 

“Rolls-Royce workers make some of the most luxurious cars for some of the richest people on the planet. Yet BMW wants to repay their hard work and craftsmanship, which has generated record orders and delivered record profits, by pinching their pensions. 

“With industrial action clearly having an impact on production, BMW bosses need to reflect on today’s talks and demonstrate a serious willingness to address our members’ concerns. 

“There is a window of a week, before further action, in which BMW can work with us to hammer out a deal that is good for the workforce and the business. A failure to do so will result in the further planned industrial action going ahead with the continued disruption it brings to car production.”

BMW’s plan to close the pension scheme by 31 May 2017 comes as latest figures showed a surge in BMW Group’s annual 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.


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Notes to editors

24 hour strike action is planned for the following days at the following locations: 

  • 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 

  • 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.