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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
'My next boss will get a bargain'
Norman Hanson
Mr Hanson says the paperwork is "terrible"
Norman Hanson was made redundant by MG Rover four days ago and is now facing the prospect of taking almost a 50% pay cut to return to work.

The 48-year-old, who was a logistics operator for 20 years at the Longbridge plant, was one of the 5,000 employees who received their redundancy notices on Monday.

He lives with his wife Melanie, 48, and 16-year-old son Joseph in Selly Oak - he also has a 22-year-old daughter, Kimberly, who lives in Portsmouth.

I'm feeling terrible today. I'm trying to fill in forms for jobs and I've got a letter from the Job Centre with lots and lots of forms to fill in for Job Seekers Allowance. There are 43 pages asking things like 'do you want to claim for your partner?' I really don't know these things.

I'm going up to the drop-in centre at Longbridge to get some help and I'll take all this with me. I've also got to remember to take some ID and to take my application forms to get them stamped by the auditors because I can't get references.

The next person who employs me is going to get a bargain

I phoned up B&Q and they gave me a personality test which I passed. It was a bit daunting but I went in full of confidence and at the end they said 'you are suitable to work at B&Q, we will send you out an application form'.

The jobs I am applying for are definitely a lot less pay than what I was getting at Rover. Some employers ask what's the minimum you would accept - I've put down 5.50 an hour to get me back on the job market.

Meeting old friends

The next person who employs me is going to get a bargain. I used to earn 9.95 an hour. I don't think I'll earn that again, I don't think we've got those sort of jobs out there now, not local in Birmingham.

If I start off at the bottom I think I have the skills to work my way up. The opportunity was not there with Rover, I don't think I was used to my full potential, I think I had more skills than I was being paid for.

My wife asked me what we were doing about money now and I said we'll just take it out of the bank, but she said 'don't forget there's nothing coming in'.

Then my son was asking why we had to have a glass sauce bottle instead of a squeezy one and my wife told him 'because that's the cheapest'. It makes you sit down and think about what you can afford.

I can understand cutting back and my wife can too, but try telling your son you haven't got any chocolate biscuits when he's used to having things there.

Joseph Hanson
Try telling your son you haven't got any chocolate biscuits when he's used to having things there

I'll probably spend all afternoon at the MG Rover drop-in centre, I expect there'll be hundreds there. It'll be strange walking through the gates, I've already phoned to see if I can get my personal things from there but they said 'no', they'll send out a package.

I've got quite a bit of stuff, old tools and things, I've gone through the personal items I did bring away with me and I can't find my fork lift truck licence so I'm a bit concerned.

My friend Spencer has been getting in touch with people to get together at the Rover club tonight.

I am looking forward to meeting up but I don't know what to expect. The bunch up there will probably be doing their best to make us forget our troubles. We will probably have a couple of beers.

I think it will start off happy but I'm not so sure as the night carries on and we start saying our goodbyes.

BBC News will be following Mr Hanson's progress all this week.

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