Crunch talks to be held next week
WORKERS at Oxford’s Mini Plant will be given details of BMW’s ‘final offer’ through a series of meetings next week after union bosses suspended strike action over pensions.
Tomorrow’s walkout at the Cowley factory was scrapped after Unite called off industrial action this week following crunch talks with the German carmakers in London on Wednesday.
But the Oxford Mail understands some of the workforce at the site, who have already staged three strikes, were disappointed to be told ‘at the last minute’ they would not be able to protest against plans to scrap the final salary pension scheme.
A source said workers had ‘not been told’ what the offer was, but added they received confirmation the strike actions would not go ahead late on Wednesday.
He added morale on the production lines was ‘really low’ with staff fearing they could lose out on thousands in retirement income if the scheme closed.
No details have so far been released about the offer from BMW, but it is understood to be a percentage payment of an employee’s salary, which would be paid over three years. The worker, who did not want to be named, said: “Everyone was ready to go out [on strike] again. We heard it an hour before we were due to come out. We just do not know what the offer is. A lot of people I have spoken to asked how can they call it off at such short notice.”
The worker said he felt comments from BMW chief executive Harald Kruger about the potential to build more Minis in the Netherlands were being used a ‘scare tactics’. BMW said in a statement: “We believe the offer to be fair and in the long-term interests of both the company and all our employees.”
Unite said while they do not recommend the offer, they thought members should ‘consider the detail’.
Both BMW and Unite said they would not speculate on what could happen if no deal is struck.
Report from the Oxford Mail.