Employees at luxury carmaker Bentley have voted for strike action in a row over plans to close its defined benefit pension scheme.
Union Unite announced that 98 per cent of its members had backed industrial action in the consultative ballot on a 92 per cent turn out.
The union will now organise a further ballot which could lead to a walkout.
Unite regional officer Phil Morgan said: “This massive vote in favour of action demonstrates the anger and strength of feeling among workers over Bentley’s pension proposals which could result in workers losing thousands of pounds in retirement income"
The dispute focuses on Crewe-headquartered Bentley’s plans to close the Rolls Royce and Bentley Pension Fund (RRBPF) which has a deficit of £500m.
A Bentley spokesperson said that they were “disappointed” by the results of the ballot.
They added that Bentley was examining its options regarding the RRBPF scheme because of the size of its deficit.
“We are looking at this now because of the significant growth in the deficit to over £500m in the last two years. We are fully committed to funding this deficit, which poses a significant financial challenge to our business,” they said.
Morgan said: “We would urge bosses at Bentley and its parent company Volkswagen to listen to the workforce and further engage in meaningful talks with Unite aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable position.”
A Bentley spokesperson said: “We will continue to work together with the unions to achieve the best possible outcome for the company and all of our colleagues.”
Bentley, which is owned by German car company Volkswagen, has its headquarters in Crewe.
It makes models such as the Continental, the Flying Spur, the Mulsanne and the Bentagya.