BMW employees ramp up strikes in row over "pensions robbery" with Rolls-Royce workers joining the walkouts this week

 
Rebecca Smith
Workers at the Mini plant in Cowley are involved in the industrial action
Workers at the Mini plant in Cowley are involved in the industrial action (Source: Getty)

BMW workers have walked out again today in the third of eight strikes over a bitter pensions dispute with the German car giant.

Employees at the car's Hams Hall engine plant have staged a 24-hour strike with another walkout planned for this Friday by Rolls-Royce workers at BMW's Goodwood site.

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Up to 3,500 BMW workers are in the midst of eight 24-hour walkouts, planned to span across April and May, over BMW's plans to close the final salary pension scheme.

The car company plans to close the pension scheme on 31 May, which union Unite says could mean some workers lose up to £160,000 in retirement income.

Staff across the German car giant’s plants in Oxford, Sussex, Swindon and Birmingham are protesting over what Unite has called “pensions robbery”. The union said the strikes have "left production lines at a standstill".

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Unite national officer for BMW, Fred Hanna, said: “Unite members at BMW have shown a clear determination to defend their pensions. The industrial action to date has brought production of the iconic Mini to a halt and severely disrupted engine production lines.

“This has not been a step taken lightly by our members who take great pride in producing world beating engines and the world class motorcars which have powered BMW’s record profits and sales."

When strike action started last month, BMW said: "We regret the decision by Unite to stage industrial action and are hopeful that the union’s representatives will return to the negotiating table.

Like many businesses, we know that the costs and risks associated with defined benefit pension schemes makes them unsustainable and unaffordable in the long term.

The reason we are proposing changes now is so we can protect existing and future pensions for all our staff and ensure the long term competitiveness of our UK manufacturing operations.

Our door remains firmly open to further talks with Unite to find a resolution that is mutually acceptable to both sides.

The eight BMW strike dates

Wednesday 19 April – workers at Cowley, Hams Hall and Swindon strike

Sunday 23 April – workers at Cowley and Swindon strike

Wednesday 3 May – workers at Hams Hall strike

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

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