Swindon BMW workers mount strike over pension scheme closure

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BMW workers in Swindon joined a series of 24-hour strikes in protest at the company’s decision to closure their pension scheme.

Striking workers at the Stratton plant manned a peaceful protest at the gates as some drivers sounded their horns in support.

The move, organised by the Unite union, forms part of a programme of industrial action stretching over five weeks. It is the first time that the German car makers UK workforce have taken such industrial action – which also involves workers from BMW plants in Cowley and Hams Hall in the West Midlands.

According to the union, some workers could lose up to £160,000 in their retirement income.

©Calyx Picture Agency

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “BMW’s refusal to discuss affordable options to keep the pension scheme open means that for the first time its UK workforce will be taking strike action.

“It is very much the last resort for a world class workforce that takes great pride in making the iconic Mini and world renowned Rolls-Royce motor cars and one which could have been avoided if BMW’s bosses had been willing to negotiate meaningfully with Unite.

BMW’s plan to close the pension scheme by 31 May 2017 comes as latest figures showed a surge in BMW Group’s net profit of eight per cent to €6.9 billion, as well as a record year for Mini sales and a six per cent rise in Roll-Royce sales.