BMW strike action moves up a gear as Mini and Rolls-Royce workers stage fresh walkouts in pensions row

Rebecca Smith
The strikes involve workers at the Cowley Mini plant in Oxford
The strikes involve workers at the Cowley Mini plant in Oxford (Source: Getty)

BMW workers have taken their strike action over a pensions row up a gear with walkouts taking place today and Thursday across Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon.

The strikes involve Mini workers at Cowley and Rolls-Royce workers at Goodwood. It is the latest of eight, 24-hour walkouts planned over the row, with further strikes planned for Sunday 21 May and Wednesday 24 May.

Read more: BMW workers across the UK kick off bumper strike action over pensions row

The bitter dispute involving workers at BMW manufacturing plants is over the planned closure of the final salary pension scheme at the end of the month.

As many as 3,500 workers are expected to be involved in the action overall, with union Unite calling the changes "pension robbery". The union has said the walkouts have stalled production at the plants.

It comes after workers at Rolls-Royce walked out for the first time earlier this month, as talks aimed at breaking the impasse over BMW's pension changes adjourned without agreement.

BMW has said: "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."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, has called the strike action "very much the last resort for a world class workforce that takes great pride in making the iconic Mini and world renowned Rolls-Royce motor cars".

McCluskey said that rather than negotiate with the union, BMW "has paid lip service to the concerns of a workforce whose hard work and efficiency has helped the German carmaker achieve record sales amid surging profits and sought to pinch their pensions".

Read more: Watchdog cracks down on firms paying dividends over funding pensions

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