BMW workers vote to accept revised offer over pension scheme

Workers at car giant BMW have voted overwhelmingly to accept a revised offer over the closure of their final salary pension scheme, ending the threat of more strikes.

Members of Unite, who make the Mini and Rolls-Royce cars, backed the offer by 81.5%.

The UK workers, based at Cowley, near Oxford, Goodwood near Chichester, Hams Hall in the West Midlands and Swindon, took part in a series of strikes and had threatened more industrial action.

Unite said workers will now move into one of the leading defined contribution pension schemes in the auto industry.

Union officials did not make a recommendation on the deal, which they said also includes greater flexibility on the timings of transitional payments totalling £22,000 over three years.

Alternatively, members can opt for a transitional payment of £25,000 spread over three years to be paid into their new defined contribution scheme.

Unite national officer Fred Hanna said: "Unite members have overwhelmingly backed the revised pension offer bringing this long-running dispute to an end.

"BMW initially thought it could railroad its pension changes through with transitional payments of just £7,000.

"It's testament to the resolve of Unite members and their solidarity that the carmaker was forced to more than triple these payments and give additional guarantees.

"BMW's UK workforce is among the most efficient and skilled in the auto industry. We look forward to working with BMW to ensure the world-beating Mini and Rolls-Royce motor cars go from strength to strength."

A BMW spokesman said: "We are pleased that the company's offer has been accepted by the majority of Unite members who took part in the union ballot. This outcome follows lengthy negotiations between the company and employee representatives since September last year.

"It is now intended that employees currently in our defined benefit pension scheme will join the company's defined contribution pension scheme from October 2017.

"The DC scheme, which has market-leading company contributions of up to 16%, was launched in early 2014 for new starters and already has more than 2,000 members across the UK.

"We believe that our pension proposals are fair and will help to ensure our competitiveness as a business, which is ultimately in the long-term interest of all our employees."

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