July 10, 2017 / 1:32 PM / 3 years ago

UK's BMW workers accept new pensions deal, ending dispute

Signage at a BMW Mini dealership is seen in London, Britain, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - British workers at BMW (BMWG.DE)’s Mini and Rolls-Royce operations have overwhelmingly accepted a new offer from the German carmaker on Monday over the closure of its final salary pension scheme, ending a disagreement which had led to strikes.

Over 80 percent of members at four sites, including BMW’s Mini plant and Rolls-Royce facility in southern England and engine production site, accepted the new deal which will close the final salary scheme, Britain’s biggest union Unite said.

Members were offered greater flexibility regarding the timing of transitional payments worth 22,000 pounds over three years or 25,000 pounds paid into the new pension programme, the union said.

Last month, Unite threatened more strikes at the firm’s British plants if BMW failed to agree a deal after a previous offer was rejected in a ballot by members.

Many British companies have closed their final salary schemes in recent years, arguing that they have become too expensive and unsustainable as people claim more from funds as life expectancy grows.

BMW said its employees would join a defined contribution scheme from October 2017 which has a company contribution of up to 16 percent.

“We believe that our pension proposals are fair and will help to ensure our competitiveness as a business, which is ultimately in the long-term interest of all our employees,” the firm said in a statement.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden

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