WORKERS at car giant BMW have voted to reject an offer aimed at resolving a long-running dispute over pensions.

Members of the Unite union based at plants in Swindon, Cowley, Goodwood near Chichester, Hams Hall in the West Midlands, turned down an offer by 56.6%.

Unite shop stewards from BMW plants will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the next steps in the dispute over the company's plans to close the final salary scheme.

Workers have staged four walkouts, hitting engine, Mini and Rolls-Royce car production.

Three 24-hour strikes scheduled in May were suspended while workers considered the offer, which would see the closure of the final salary pension scheme and workers moved into a defined contribution scheme.

Unite national officer Fred Hanna said: "While Unite did not recommend the offer, as it would have different outcomes for different people and their pensions, it is clear that it did not go far enough or deal with the concerns many of our members have over BMW's pension plans.

"We would urge BMW bosses to reflect on the result and listen to the workforce by further engaging in meaningful talks with Unite."

A BMW spokesman said: "We are disappointed that Unite members have voted to reject the company's best offer designed to support employees during the proposed move to its new UK pension arrangements.

"We are now considering the implications of the ballot result and we will be meeting with the union in due course to discuss next steps.

"We believe the offer, which resulted from lengthy negotiations with the union since September last year, was fair. It was designed to improve competitiveness, which is in the long-term interests of all our employees in the future."