Unite union urges BMW to break pensions impasse to see off looming strike threat as they meet for new talks

 
Rebecca Smith
The pensions change would affect workers at the Mini plant in Cowley among others
The pensions change would affect workers at the Mini plant in Cowley among others (Source: Getty)

Unite union has urged BMW to "break the impasse" to avoid the growing prospect of strikes ahead of fresh talks between the union and car firm tomorrow.

The union said the car firm was trying to "buy car workers off" with a £7,000 payment to give up their final salary pension. The row is over plans to shut the final salary pension scheme, which will affect workers at all the firm's British bases, including its Mini plants in Cowley and Swindon and the Rolls-Royce plant at Goodwood.

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Unite national officer Tony Murphy said: “BMW Group needs to negotiate meaningfully to break the impasse and avoid the looming prospect of industrial action.

“Trying to buy off car workers to give up their pensions with a derisory £7,000 is an insult to workers who could lose up to £160,000 in retirement income if the pension scheme closes. This ‘buy off’ is money which will be clawed back from workers at a later date by BMW and amounts to nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

“BMW Group can well afford to keep its pension promises and do the right thing by a workforce which has contributed massively to the carmaker’s success. We urge BMW bosses to work seriously with Unite to resolve this dispute for the good of the workforce and the good of the business.”

The talks follow two days of discussions earlier this month over plans to shut the final salary pension scheme.

More than 7,000 BMW workers could stage a walkout over the issue, with a ballot over the matter set to close on 31 March.

BMW said in a statement: "BMW Group has always prided itself in providing excellent pensions for its staff and wants to act now to protect future pension provision for all its staff and to help protect the cost competitiveness of the UK as a manufacturing base.

"Discussions between the company and its employee representatives are ongoing with a further meeting taking place on 22 March."

Read more: BMW workers could be next to go on strike

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