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‘First strike in living memory’

Rolls-Royce car workers fight ‘pensions robbery’
Alex Flynn, Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Workers at the luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce will be striking for the first time in living memory tomorrow (May 5), as the latest talks aimed at breaking the impasse over BMW Group’s pension changes adjourned without agreement today (May 4).


Tomorrow’s strike, involving members of Unite, is the latest to hit the BMW Group over its pension changes which could lead to some workers losing in excess of £160,000 in retirement income.


Car workers making the world renowned Rolls-Royce cars, such as the Phantom and Ghost at Goodwood, near Chichester will be stopping work for 24 hours from 6am over BMW’s plans to close their final salary pension scheme.


Tomorrow’s action, at the carmaker which is owned by BMW, follows three 24 hour strikes involving workers at BMW’s Mini car plants in Cowley, Hams Hall in the West Midlands and Swindon.


The stoppages saw production lines making engines, components and fully assembled Mini cars grind to a standstill. The Cowley production line turns out a Mini a minute on a typical day.


Picket lines will form outside the main gate at Rolls-Royce, The Drive, Westhampnett, Chichester, PO18 0SH from 6am tomorrow morning.


Commenting Unite national officer for BMW Fred Hanna said, “BMW bosses need to realise that workers who make the world renowned Rolls-Royce motorcars, along with their colleagues elsewhere in BMW UK will not roll over.


“Rolls-Royce workers make some of the most luxurious cars for some of the richest people on the planet. Yet BMW wants to repay their hard work and craftsmanship, which has generated record orders and delivered record profits, by pinching their pensions.


“With industrial action clearly having an impact on production, BMW bosses need to reflect on today’s talks and demonstrate a serious willingness to address our members’ concerns.


“There is a window of a week, before further action, in which BMW can work with us to hammer out a deal that is good for the workforce and the business,” he added.  “A failure to do so will result in the further planned industrial action going ahead with the continued disruption it brings to car production.”


BMW’s plan to close the pension scheme by May 31 2017 comes as latest figures showed a surge in BMW Group’s annual net profit of eight per cent to €6.9bn, as well as a record year for Mini sales and a six per cent rise in Roll-Royce sales.

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