Unite urged BMW Group bosses to break the impasse and negotiate meaningfully when talks aimed at finding a resolution to the ongoing pension dispute reconvene tomorrow (March 22).
Accusing the carmaker of ‘going through the motions’ and trying to ‘buy car workers off’ with a derisory £7,000 payment to give up their final salary pension, the union warned BMW it needed to start listening to workers’ concerns over the closure of the pension scheme.
Tomorrow’s talks follow two days of discussions on March 6 and 7 and comes as voting for industrial action continues over BMW’s plans to close the pension scheme by May 31, 2017. Closure of the BMW occupational pension scheme could see some of the car firm’s UK workforce lose up to £160,000 in retirement income.
The ballot involving workers at Cowley, Farnborough, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon closes on Friday, March 31. It follows figures from the carmaker earlier in the month, showing a surge in BMW Group’s net profit of eight per cent to €6.9bn, as well as record year for Mini sales and a six per cent rise in Roll-Royce sales.
“BMW Group needs to negotiate meaningfully to break the impasse and avoid the looming prospect of industrial action,” said Unite national officer Tony Murphy.
“Trying to buy off car workers to give up their pensions with a derisory £7,000 is an insult to workers who could lose up to £160,000 in retirement income if the pension scheme closes. This ‘buy off’ is money which will be clawed back from workers at a later date by BMW and amounts to nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
“BMW Group can well afford to keep its pension promises and do the right thing by a workforce which has contributed massively to the carmaker’s success. We urge BMW bosses to work seriously with Unite to resolve this dispute for the good of the workforce and the good of the business.”