BMW workers vote to strike over pensions dispute, Unite the union announces

 
Caitlin Morrison
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BMW workers are in a dispute over pensions (Source: Getty)

BMW workers have voted to strike, Unite the union has announced.

The German carmaker wants to close two final salary schemes and consolidate all staff to a less generous provision that new starters have been on since 2014.

The dispute began in November, when workers backed strike action in a consultative ballot. Just last month BMW bosses met with Unite union representatives in a bid to avoid industrial action.

Last week Unite warned that BMW was "sleepwalking into industrial action". Workers at the Hams Hall engine plant in Warwickshire and the Mini plant in Cowley, Oxfordshire have held protests in recent weeks over the proposed closure of the pension scheme.

“BMW needs to reflect on this extraordinary vote in favour of industrial action and the real possibility that its UK workforce will strike for the first time under its ownership in the coming weeks," said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey this afternoon.

“It won’t be a step which will be taken lightly, but the vote in favour of action shows a determination by workers who have contributed massively to BMW’s record revenues to stand up for their pensions.

“Unite members have been the driving force behind record sales and a surge in profits. Repaying their loyalty by breaking pension promises and robbing them of tens of thousands of pounds of retirement income is a disgraceful way for BMW bosses to behave.

“Over the coming days Unite representatives will be considering our next steps and what form industrial action could take. We would urge BMW to stop pinching pensions and negotiate a settlement which is good for the business and good for the workforce.”

The union announced that workers would be balloted over industrial action earlier this month.

"BMW Group has always prided itself in providing excellent pensions for its staff and wants to act now to protect future pension provision for its UK workforce," said a spokesperson for the car maker.

"The company has had a number of planned meetings on the proposed changes since the start of the consultation process in September last year, and while it is disappointed by the result of the ballot it remains open to negotiation."

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