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BMW pension offer rejected by trade union

Unite held consultative ballot over car maker's proposals to close final salary scheme

BMW workers stage industrial action outside the Hams Hall plant in Coleshill
BMW workers have already held industrial action at Hams Hall

More unrest appears to be on the horizon at car maker BMW after trade union members rejected an offer from the company aimed at resolving a long-running dispute over pensions.

Unite held a consultative ballot to seek guidance from its members at the Hams Hall engine manufacturing facility factory in Coleshill and three other plants which saw BMW's offer rejected by 56.6 per cent.

Unite shop stewards from all four plants will meet tomorrow to discuss the next step.

So far, the dispute has seen walkouts at all four plants bringing engine, Mini and Rolls-Royce motor car production lines to a standstill.

Three 24-hour strikes scheduled last month were suspended while workers considered the offer which would see the closure of the final salary pension scheme and staff moved to a defined contribution scheme.

Unite shop stewards did not make a recommendation on the offer which the union said also included a transitional payment of £22,000 spread over three years that would be subject to tax and national insurance.

The union said members could instead opt for a transitional payment of £25,000 spread over three years to be paid into their new defined contribution scheme.

Unite national officer for BMW Fred Hanna said: "Unite shop stewards will be meeting to discuss the result of the consultative ballot and the next steps in the dispute.

"While Unite did not recommend the offer, as it would have different outcomes for different people and their pensions, it is clear it did not go far enough or deal with the concerns many of our members have over BMW's pension plans.

"We would urge BMW bosses to reflect on the result and listen to the workforce by further engaging in meaningful talks with Unite."

A statement from BMW said: "We are disappointed that Unite members have voted by an overall majority of 57 per cent to 43 per cent to reject the company's best offer, designed to support employees during the proposed move to its new UK pension arrangements.

"We are now considering the implications of the ballot result and we will be meeting with the union in due course to discuss next steps.

"We believe the offer, which resulted from lengthy negotiations with the union since September last year, was fair.

"It was designed to improve competitiveness which is in the long-term interests of all our employees in the future."

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