A UNITE member has called on BMW bosses to “wake up” and scrap plans to close the employee pension scheme following strikes in Swindon this week.

Workers at BMW’s Stratton site will down tools again this Sunday as part of a series of 24 hour walkouts.

More than 700 people took part in Wednesday’s strike with the aim of reversing the company’s decision to scrap its final salary pension scheme, which could see some lose up to £160,000 in their retirement income.

Following the first day of industrial action, Unite regional officer John McGookin said: “There was terrific support for the strike. It should serve as a wake-up call to BMW’s bosses and further underlines the determination of Unite members to defend their hard earned pensions.

“We would urge BMW to drop its deadline for the pension scheme’s closure and negotiate a settlement which is for the business and the workforce to avoid the disruption of continued industrial action.”

Further strikes at the Stratton plant will take place on Sunday, April 23, Tuesday, May 16, Thursday, May 18 and Sunday, May 21.

Speaking during Wednesday’s picket, Mr McGookin said: “The workers are out here today because they believe they are being short changed.

“The company made €6.9bn last year and now they want to close the pension scheme. People are seeing their pension legacies disappear only to be replaced with a scheme which will put them at a huge disadvantage.”

He insisted taking industrial action was a “last resort” for the workforce.

It is the first time since 1986 that picket lines have been seen at BMW’s Plant Swindon.

A BMW spokesman said: “BMW Group wants to act now to protect future pension provision.

“A number of meetings have taken place since the start of consultation on the proposed pension changes and the company is disappointed by Unite’s industrial action.

“We have put a number of options on the table to help employees transition to the proposed new pension arrangements and it remains open to negotiation.”