Car workers, who make engines, the Mini and Rolls-Royce motorcars for BMW,protested outside the German carmaker’s flagship showroom on Park Lane in Mayfair, London on Saturday (April 29) over the firm’s ‘pension robbery’.
The members of Unite, working at BMW plants in Cowley, Hams Hall in the West Midlands, Swindon and Rolls-Royce in Goodwood near Chichester protested over BMW’s plans to close their final salary pension scheme.
The scheme’s closure pencilled in for May 31 could see some workers lose up to £160,000 in retirement income.
Among these workers out protesting on Saturday who stand to lose so much under BMWs pensions proposals is Unite deputy plant convenor Steve Sargent (pictured below) .
He was joined by Unite member Sitwant Riarh, who works at the Mini plant in Cowley, along with his family including his three-year-old child Katan (pictured below).
Unite members Susan McCormick and Sam Webster-Moore (pictured belwo) were also among the protestors who gathered on the day, which drew more than 50 in total.
Unite national officer for BMW Fred Hanna told the Oxford Times that it a was successful demonstration.
“We are here outside this showroom of very expensive cars to show that the people that make the cars, and bring all the profits to the company, are the people they are robbing the pensions from,” he said.
“We are bringing it to London so that people can see the cars, and the people that make those cars.
“We are doing handouts to the public and it’s going very well.”
Saturday’s protest follows two 24-hour strikes, which have caused significant disruption and left production lines at a standstill, leaving customers waiting for the delivery of their new vehicles.
A further six 24-hour strikes are planned over the coming weeks, including a stoppage at Hams Hall next week on Wednesday, May 3 and at Rolls-Royce in Goodwood on Friday, May 5.
Hanna added, “Our members take great pride in building the vehicles on display in BMW’s flagship showroom on Park Lane. It is because of their hard work and efficiency that BMW and its shareholders can enjoy bumper profits and record sales.
“Yet their reward from BMW bosses is the closure of their pension scheme and the potential loss of up to £160,000 in retirement income,” he said.
Hanna explained that the purpose of the showroom protest was to highlight “this ‘pension robbery’ and the refusal of BMW to talk about affordable options to keep the scheme open when we protest outside the carmaker’s posh Park Lane showroom.
“We urge BMW’s bosses to listen to its world class workforce, drop its deadline for the pension scheme’s closure and negotiate a settlement which is good for the business and the workforce.”
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.