Belfast Telegraph

BMW workers to protest outside prestige showroom amid pensions row

BMW workers are to stage a protest outside one of the car maker's prestige showrooms as part of a dispute over pensions.

Members of the Unite union will demonstrate at the site in London's Park Lane on Saturday ahead of a fresh wave of strikes in protest at the closure of their final salary pension scheme.

Workers have staged two days of walkouts and will take six more days of industrial action in the coming weeks.

The action will affect BMW factories at Cowley near Oxford, Swindon, and Hams Hall in the West Midlands and the Rolls-Royce site at Goodwood in West Sussex.

Unite national officer Fred Hanna said: "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.

"We will be highlighting this 'pension robbery' and the refusal of BMW to talk about affordable options to keep the scheme open when we protest outside the car maker'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."

A BMW spokesman said: "We regret the decision by Unite to stage industrial action and are hopeful that the union's representatives will return to the negotiating table.

"We have been in meaningful discussions with Unite since September of last year and have put forward a number of options to help staff transition to the proposed new pension scheme arrangements.

"Like many businesses, we know that the costs and risks associated with defined benefit pension schemes makes them unsustainable and unaffordable in the long term.

"The reason we are proposing changes now is so we can protect existing and future pensions for all our staff and ensure the long-term competitiveness of our UK manufacturing operations.

"Our door remains firmly open to further talks with Unite to find a resolution that is mutually acceptable to both sides."

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