BMW workers have accepted a fresh pensions offer to resolve the strike saga and bring bitter dispute to an end

 
Rebecca Smith
It's lift off for BMW's fresh pension deal with workers including those at its Mini plant in Cowley
It's lift off for BMW's fresh pension deal with workers including those at its Mini plant in Cowley (Source: Getty)

BMW workers in the UK have voted to accept the German car maker's revised pension offer in a long-running dispute, bringing an end to a spate of industrial action.

Unite union said over 80 per cent of staff had voted to accept a revised offer over the closure of their final salary pension scheme.

Staff across Cowley, Goodwood, Swindon and Hams Hall had previously walked out over planned changes to their retirement arrangements.

Read more: UK car production slumps on late Easter and strike action

Unite said the deal sees "the closure of the final salary pension scheme and workers moved into one of the leading defined contribution pension schemes in the auto industry".

Fred Hanna, Unite national officer, said:

Unite members have overwhelmingly backed the revised pension offer bringing this long-running dispute to an end.

BMW’s UK workforce is among the most efficient and skilled in the auto industry. We look forward to working with BMW to ensure the world beating Mini and Rolls-Royce motor cars go from strength to strength.

BMW said in a statement:

We are pleased that the company’s offer has been accepted by the majority of Unite members who took part in the union ballot.

This outcome follows lengthy negotiations between the company and employee representatives since September last year. It is now intended that employees currently in our ‘defined benefit’ pension scheme will join the company’s ‘defined contribution’ pension scheme from October 2017.

The deal brings the bitter row to an end, after the union had announced eight 24-hour strikes across April and May at BMW's British plants. That had affected production at the Mini plant in Cowley and the Rolls-Royce one at Goodwood, though the walkouts were then suspended for fresh talks to take place.

The union had said the dispute was over "pensions robbery", while the firm maintained it was fair and designed to ensure competitiveness.

Last month, BMW workers rejected a pension offer in a consultative ballot by 56.6 per cent, with the union saying it did not go far enough to address employees' concerns.

The union said the fresh deal offers members greater flexibility regarding the timing of transitional payments worth £22,000 over three years, or £25,000 paid into the new pension programme.

Read more: BMW's UK plants face fresh wave of strikes over pensions row if talks fail