Unite members at BMW making the iconic Mini and Rolls-Royce motor cars have voted to reject an offer aimed at resolving a long running pensions’ dispute.
The consultative ballot, in which Unite sought guidance from its members at BMW car plants in Cowley, Goodwood near Chichester, Hams Hall in the West Midlands and Swindon, saw the carmaker’s offer rejected by 56.6 per cent.
Unite shop stewards from all four BMW plants will be meeting tomorrow (Tuesday June 13) to discuss the next steps in the dispute over the company’s plans to close the final salary scheme.
“Unite shop stewards will be meeting to discuss the result of the consultative ballot and the next steps in the dispute,” said Fred Hanna, Unite national officer.
So far the dispute has seen four walkouts involving workers at all four plants bringing engine, Mini and Rolls-Royce motor car production lines to a standstill.
Three 24 hour strikes scheduled in May were suspended while workers considered the offer, which would see the closure of the final salary pension scheme and workers moved into a defined contribution scheme.
Unite shop stewards did not make a recommendation on the offer, which also included a transitional payment of £22,000 spread over three years that would be subject to tax and national insurance. Alternatively members could opt for a transitional payment of £25,000 spread over three years to be paid into their new defined contribution scheme.
“While Unite did not recommend the offer, as it would have different outcomes for different people and their pensions, it is clear that it did not go far enough or deal with the concerns many of our members have over BMW’s pension plans,” said Fred.
“We would urge BMW bosses to reflect on the result and listen to the workforce by further engaging in meaningful talks with Unite,” he added.