BMW workers around the country have announced their intention to strike for a combined total of eight days after the company announced the closure of its final salary pension scheme.
The strike, along with an overtime ban and intention to work to rule, was announced today and involves up to 3,500 BMW workers building engines and Mini and Rolls-Royce cars around the UK.
It will be the first strike by the carmaker’s UK workforce ever and comes after a 93 per cent vote in favour of strike action by workers at its Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon sites.
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.”
Production in these plants is expected to be disrupted during the 24-hour stoppages, which will take place over five weeks in April and May.
A spokesperson for BMW commented: “A number of planned meetings have taken place since the start of consultation on the proposed pension changes and the Company is disappointed by Unite’s notification of industrial action. The Company has put a number of options on the table to help employees transition to the proposed new pension arrangements and it remains open to negotiation.
“BMW Group has always prided itself in providing excellent pensions for its staff and wants to act now to protect future pension provision and to help improve the cost competitiveness of the UK as a manufacturing base.”