One day strike at Rolls-Royce in Goodwood

Around 200 Unite workers are said to be striking at Rolls-Royce today. Photos Eddie Mitchell
Around 200 Unite workers are said to be striking at Rolls-Royce today. Photos Eddie Mitchell

Workers at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars are holding a one-day strike at Goodwood today over pension changes.

Talks to end the dispute between union Unite and the BMW Group, which owns Rolls-Royce, ended yesterday without agreement.

It is said to be the first strike in living memory at Goodwood. Photos Eddie Mitchell

It is said to be the first strike in living memory at Goodwood. Photos Eddie Mitchell

The strike outside the home of the luxury carmaker began at 7.30am involving Unite members.

It is the latest industrial action against the BMW Group’s plans to close its final salary pension scheme, which Unite says will lead to some workers losing in excess of £160,000 in retirement income.

Rolls-Royce said the door remains open for further talks.

A spokesman said: “Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a subsidiary of the BMW Group.

The picket line is outside the main gate. Eddie Mitchell

The picket line is outside the main gate. Eddie Mitchell

“We regret the decision by Unite to stage industrial action and are hopeful that the union’s representatives will return to the negotiating table. 

“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.

“Like many businesses, we know that the costs and risks associated with defined benefit pension schemes makes them unsustainable and unaffordable in the long term.

“The reason we are proposing changes now is so we can protect existing and future pensions for all our staff and ensure the long term competitiveness of our UK manufacturing operations.

“Our door remains firmly open to further talks with Unite to find a resolution that is mutually acceptable to both sides.”

Today’s action at Goodwood follows three 24-hour strikes involving workers at BMW’s Mini car plants in Cowley, Hams Hall in the West Midlands and Swindon.

The stoppages saw production lines making engines, components and fully assembled Mini cars grind to a standstill, Unite said.

Unite national officer for BMW Fred Hanna said: “BMW bosses need to realise that workers who make the world renowned Rolls-Royce motor cars, along with their colleagues elsewhere in BMW UK will not roll over.

“Rolls-Royce workers make some of the most luxurious cars for some of the richest people on the planet.

“Yet BMW wants to repay their hard work and craftsmanship, which has generated record orders and delivered record profits, by pinching their pensions.

Further strikes outside the main gate at Rolls-Royce in Goodwood are scheduled for May 16, 18 and 24

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