Mini cuts 400 jobs at Oxford factory due to reduced demand

BMW will reportedly cut 400 jobs at the Mini factory in Oxford, following a sharp fall in customer demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The BBC reports that the affected workers are employed by agency Gi Group, and individual decisions will be made based on length of service, skill sets and disciplinary records. 

Gi Group employs 950 of the approximately 4000 workers at the site. Those affected are employed full-time on the production line.  

The job cuts come as BMW prepares to move the factory from a three-shift pattern to two shifts in October, following changes to its production forecast in light of the global downturn. It’s expected that production capacity will be reduced from 1000 cars per day to between 800 and 900. 

BMW closed the site for nearly two months during the coronavirus lockdown, restarting operations in May with social-distancing measures in place. 

Bob Shankly, human resources director at Mini, told the BBC: “Like other automotive manufacturers, our volume forecasts for 2020 have had to change accordingly.

“We have, therefore, made the difficult decision to adjust our shift patterns at Mini Plant Oxford from October.

“This will give us the flexibility we need to adapt our production in the short to medium term, according to developments in global markets.”

In a joint statement issued in the wake of the news, councillors Susan Brown and Anneliese Dodds expressed sympathy for those losing their jobs and said that “while the plant is very productive”, the pandemic has “posed major difficulties for the automotive industry”, both domestically and internationally. 

They added: “We will both continue to work with BMW Cowley to do what we can to ensure the future of the plant and to protect local jobs.”