Tensions between BMW and its workers in Britain have reached an apex this morning, as workers at three separate BMW plants have staged a 24-hour strike.
Picket lines have been put in place for the next 24 hours at the Crowley, Hams Hall, and Swindon BMW plants. As a result, MINI production has reached a screeching halt.
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The motivation behind this series of strikes is a change in the pension plan for BMW factory workers. As of now, the pension plan is set to change from a defined-benefit pension system to that of a contribution-based system by June of this year.
According to the Unite union, the primary voice of opposition against the plan and the organizer of the strikes, the new pension system would result in a lost income of £160,000, or $205,216, for BMW plant workers. As such, Unite has called the change in policy “pension robbery.”
“BMW’s refusal to discuss affordable options to keep the pension scheme open means that for the first time, its UK workforce will be taking strike action,” stated Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.
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Meanwhile, according to BMW, 67% of workers affected by the pension plan backed the action when given the opportunity to vote. The company says that it is “firmly open” to future dialogue with its British workers.
“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,” BMW declared in an official statement.
The Goodwood BMW plant, which produces several Rolls-Royce vehicles, is not participating in today’s strike. Nevertheless, the plant is scheduled to participate in no less than seven scheduled stoppages between now and May 24, which will include participation from the other three plants as well.
As of right now, there is not conclusive evidence for how this series of strikes could affect BMW’s productivity or profits.
News Source: BBC