Bentley workers consider strike action over pensions

Bentley workers consider strike action over pensions

Bentley Motors workers at the luxury car maker’s Crewe headquarters have backed industrial action in a consultative ballot over plans to close its defined benefit pension scheme, according to the UK’s largest union, Unite.

The union said that members, including car production workers, senior staff and managers, backed strikes by 98% on a 92% turnout in the consultative ballot. A full statutory industrial action ballot is still required before any action is taken.

Bentley has proposed closing the defined benefit pension scheme due to a reported deficit of more than £500 million, with funding increasing by 50% in the past five years.

Unite claims the changes could see 1,200 of Bentley’s longest serving workers, who are members of the Rolls Royce and Bentley pension fund, losing tens of thousands of pounds a year in retirement income.

The union’s regional officer, Phil Morgan, said: “This massive vote in favour of action demonstrates the anger and strength of feeling among workers over Bentley’s pension proposals which could result in workers losing thousands of pounds in retirement income.”

“Unite will now be making arrangements to move to a full statutory industrial action ballot which given the strength of feeling could result in industrial action in the coming months.”

“The union has presented counter proposals to the company as an alternative to the proposed closure of the pension scheme.”

“We would urge bosses at Bentley and its parent company Volkswagen to listen to the workforce and further engage in meaningful talks with Unite aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable position.”

The car maker is the latest in a line of organisations facing a funding crisis and proposals to end its defined benefit scheme.

Most notably, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is facing further strikes over the issue, as it attempts to deal with a deficit of approximately £7.5 billion.

Categories: News, UK Pensions

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