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2016 MINI Clubman

So much for negotiations

Roughly two months ago, The News Wheel first reported on a series of strikes planned out and organized by workers from three of BMW’s British plants. In the interim, BMW had drafted an offer designed to end the pension dispute.

However, it seems that BMW’s UK workers have just rejected the automaker’s offer.

Tensions between BMW and workers at its British factories first began after BMW announced a change to the workers’ pension plan. The initial proposal involved a transition from a defined-benefit system to a contribution based system.

According to the Unite union, such a move would result in a  £160,000 ($205,216) loss of income for workers. In response, workers from three of BMW’s British-based factories, which produce a large number of MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles, scheduled a series of seven strikes.

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Rolls-Royce production would also be affected by future strikes

Three of those strikes were eventually suspended to allow for workers to examine the new deal offered by BMW. The offer proposed moving forward with the pension transition, but while also providing workers with a cash payment of £22,000 over three years or placing £25,000 into the newly defined pension scheme.

Nevertheless, 56.6% of BMW factory workers turned down the new offer. BMW stated that it was “disappointed” in the results of the ballot.

“We believe the offer, which resulted from lengthy negotiations with the union since September last year, was fair,” a spokesperson from BMW clarified in a statement.

“It is clear that it did not go far enough or deal with the concerns many of our members have over BMW’s pension plans,” stated Fred Hanna, national officer of the Unite union. “We would urge BMW bosses to reflect on the result and listen to the workforce by further engaging in meaningful talks with Unite.”

Representatives from Unite are scheduled to meet later today to decide what steps will be taken next.

News Source: BBC