UK BMW workers back strike over pensions

Mini production line

UK workers at BMW have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike in a dispute over pensions, the Unite union has announced.

BMW workers making engines and the Mini and Rolls-Royce motorcars plan to strike over plans to close their final salary pension scheme.

The union says the proposal could see some UK workers lose up to £160,000 in retirement income.

BMW said it was “disappointed” but remained “open to negotiations”.

The action involves up to 3,500 workers at plants in Oxfordshire, Chichester, Birmingham and Swindon.

The firm builds over 200,000 Minis a year at its plant in Cowley, Oxford, nearly 4,000 luxury Rolls-Royce models at Goodwood in West Sussex and about 200,000 engines at Hams Hall near Birmingham.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “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.

“We would urge BMW to stop pinching pensions and negotiate a settlement which is good for the business and good for the workforce.”

The firm wants to close two final salary pension schemes from June and move staff to another scheme which new starters have been part of since 2014.

A BMW spokesperson said: “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.”

The strike was backed by 93% of BMW employees in the Unite union who voted in the ballot.

Union officials will meet in the coming days to discuss strike dates.

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