BMW workers consider final pensions offer in industrial dispute
BMW Hams Hall workers are considering a final offer from the car maker in a long-running dispute over pensions which could see staff shifted to new contracts if it is rejected.
The German car giant has put forward another reshaped offer in a final bid to bring to an end the ongoing row with staff and members of the Unite trade union.
The dispute centres on BMW’s plans to close its final-salary pension scheme to future accrual, something which Unite has claimed could cost some staff up to £160,000 in retirement income.
BMW has now said that one option to make the proposed change would be to give notice to terminate existing employment contracts and offer new ones in their place.
These contracts would be on the same terms but without any entitlement to future benefit accrual under the defined benefit pension scheme. No jobs are at stake.
Unite has launched a new ballot of its members over this latest and final offer from BMW which runs until July 7 but it admits this is “the best” that can be achieved.
The pension changes affect staff at the Hams Hall plant in Coleshill, where engines are manufactured, along with workers at sites in Swindon, Mini in Oxfordshire and RollsRoyce in Goodwood, West Sussex.
Eight separate days of industrial action were planned across the fac- tories and, although these commenced in April, strike action was suspended a month later as Unite considered a revised pension offer from BMW.
However, that offer was rejected by Unite in June, prompting BMW to bring forward a revised offer.
In a statement, the union said: “Following further meetings with BMW, a revised offer was put forward by the company.
“Unite’s convenors and senior offi- cial however consider the revised offer to the best that can be achieved by negotiation.
“Members will have the opportunity to consider the revised offer and have their say in a ballot.”
If union members reject BMW’s final offer, the manufacturer will continue to plan for the closure of the scheme to future accrual and implement the defined contribution scheme anyway, with the new contracts one of the means of doing so.