Page last updated at 10:04 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Protest against Mini job cuts

Protesters outside Oxford's mini plant
Protesters outside Oxford's Mini plant

A protest was held outside BMW's Mini plant in Oxford as hundreds of staff returned to work.

The company said last Monday that 850 agency workers would be losing their jobs. About 350 have already gone.

The remaining 500 will be given a week's notice with production being reduced to five days a week.

About 25 protesters gathered at 0600 GMT. They included former agency workers as well as members of socialist and trade union movements.

BMW worker Stephen Smither was one of those returning to work this morning after the factory's week long shut down.

"I'm unsure completely - I'm just going to go in and see what happens," he said.

Another worker told BBC Oxford, "I'm a family man myself - and I don't think this is fair on the agency workers."

Drop 'speculative'

BMW has described suggestions that it is forecasting a 20% drop in production this year as "speculative".

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Professor Kevin Morley, former managing director of Rover, said agency workers were always at risk of being axed.

"The fact remains they are still agency workers, they are not formally employed by BMW," he said.

"They've always been on a contract that said they could be gone in a matter of days. What was a privilege became a right."

However, the protesters disagree.

They held banners which claim that they should not pay for "the BMW bosses' crisis".

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