Photo: Mark Thomas

Photo: Mark Thomas

Unite in Munich. Photo: Robert Koester / Team IG Metall BMW

The EWC in Munich. Photo: Robert Koester / Team IG Metall BMW

Unite in Munich. Photo: Robert Koester / Team IG Metall BMW

Photo: Mark Thomas

Photo: Mark Thomas

Photo: Mark Thomas

Photo: Mark Thomas

BMW workers in the UK announce strike action over pensions threat

07.04.2017

A series of eight 24 hour strikes at factories making engines and the iconic Mini and Rolls-Royce cars will start on Wednesday 19 April.

The strikes will be combined with an overtime ban and work to rule, and involve up to 3,500 BMW workers at plants in Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon. The workers are represented by IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Unite the Union, who voted 93 per cent vote in favour of strike action over BMW’s plan to close the final salary pension scheme. It will be the first ever strike by BMW workers in the UK.
 
BMW’s plans could see some workers lose up to £160,000 in retirement income. This is despite a growth of eight per cent in profit to €6.9 billion, a record year for Mini sales, and a six per cent rise in Rolls-Royce sales.
 
On 29 March 2017, a union delegation visited the company headquarters in Munich to protest the closure of the scheme, and accuse bosses of “pension robbery”. Unite plant convenor Norman Gough and national officer Tony Murphy met Manfred Schoch of IG Metall, who is chair of the BMW European Works Council (EWC). The Unite delegation requested support from the EWC and Schoch confirmed they would stand in solidarity.
 
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said,

 “BMW’s bosses need to get their heads out of the sand.
 
“BMW’s UK workers have contributed significantly to a record year in revenues and sales for the carmaker. They deserve better than broken pension promises and the loss of tens of thousands of pounds in retirement income.”

 Helmut Lense, IndustriALL director for the automotive sector, said,

 “BMW is a very profitable company, whose success is the consequence of the hard work and skill of its loyal workforce. We expect the company to agree to a fair solution which will be acceptable for both parties..”