Belfast Telegraph

BMW workers ballot due over fighting final salary pension scheme closure

Thousands of workers at car giant BMW are to be asked what action they want to take to fight plans to close their final salary pension scheme.

The Unite union has called meetings of officials from BMW sites in Oxford, Swindon and the West Midlands and a Rolls-Royce factory in Chichester, West Sussex, ahead of a 60-day consultation.

The union will hold a consultative ballot of its members to seek their views on how to oppose the move.

Unite national officer Tony Murphy said: "It is clear that our members will be losing thousands of pounds a year in retirement incomes, if this proposal is allowed to go ahead.

"This is plainly unacceptable and Unite will be fighting this proposal tooth and claw.

"It is becoming increasingly too easy for highly profitable multi-national companies to energetically salami-slice workers' pensions in pursuit of even greater profits.

"BMW is blaming both the increase in national insurance payments and the cost of future liabilities as to why the final salary pension has become unaffordable, although, ironically, profits are still rising in the last two quarters."

A company spokesman said: "BMW Group is proposing to close its two UK defined benefit pension schemes to future accrual from 1 June 2017 and this affects around 5,000 staff across all of the company's UK operations.

"If implemented, all staff would join the company's market-leading defined contribution scheme. This pension scheme was launched in early 2014 for new starters and now has over 2,000 members

"Many UK companies have significant pension fund shortfalls in their defined benefit schemes and the cost and risk associated with these schemes is making them increasingly unsustainable and unaffordable for both members and companies.

"BMW Group has always prided itself in providing excellent pensions for its staff and wants to act now to protect future pension provision for all its staff and to help protect the cost competitiveness of the UK as a manufacturing base.

"The company is now consulting with its employee representative bodies on this proposal."

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