Just a day after BMW justified its pension scheme closure plans by calling the scheme “unsustainable and unaffordable” in a statement on Wednesday (April 19), the car firm posted skyrocketing profits.
The automaker – whose UK workers downed tools for the first time on Wednesday in a series of planned actions over pension proposals that could see some lose up to £160,000 – saw profits rise by more than a quarter to €3bn in the first quarter of the year.
The results posted on Thursday (April 21) that far exceeded expectations forced the German carmaker to post results early – in Germany this is a requirement. BMW becomes the third German auto firm, including Daimler and Volkswagen, to post better than expected results.
Unite BMW Mini plant convenor Norman Gough called the company’s contention that the pension scheme is unaffordable “rubbish”.
“They made record profits in 2016 of €6.9bn,” he explained. “They’ve increased the shareholders dividends by 8 per cent.
“Now because of their greed, they want to take away what people have paid into for 30 or 40 years,” Gough added. “It’s immoral.”
Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke agreed, calling the latest news of BMW’s profits “astonishing” against the backdrop of the company closing its final salary pension scheme and depriving its workers of their hard earned retirement income.
“Our workers here in the UK make the iconic Mini as well as the Rolls-Royce, the best luxury car in the world,” he added. “Our members have contributed massively to the profits that the company posted today and indeed over several decades.
“The workforce is understandably incredibly angry that the company is insisting on closing the pension scheme while at the same time making massive profits.
“We have tried and we are still trying to get BMW to come to the table and agree to a deal, but they are still not moving in our direction,” Burke went on to say. “We will continue our action on Sunday with more to come until the company finally agrees to have constructive discussions.”
Wednesday’s action is the first in a series of eight 24 strikes hitting all four of BMW’s UK plants over the next five weeks, including Rolls-Royce in Goodwood where workers plan to walk out for the first time on Friday, May 5.
The next seven strikes are planned on:
Sunday 23 April – workers at Cowley and Swindon strike
Wednesday 3 May – workers at Hams Hall strike
Friday 5 May – workers at Rolls-Royce at Goodwood strike
Tuesday 16 May – workers at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon strike
Thursday 18 May – workers at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon strike
Sunday 21 May – workers at Cowley and Swindon strike
Wednesday 24 May – workers at Goodwood and Hams Hall strike