Bad news on the UK employment front. While the automotive industry is already stricken across the Channel, the German car manufacturer BMW will cut 400 temporary jobs in its Mini plant in Oxford because of the fallout from the economic and health crisis, which has resulted in a "substantial decline "demand during containment. BMW will go from three to two shifts in mid-October while continuing to operate five days a week, forcing it to cut 400 temporary positions out of 950. In total, the plant employs 4,000 people and produced more than 200,000 Minis in 2019.
BMW will also reduce its workforce, excluding temporary workers, but only a "small" number of employees will be affected, via voluntary departures or early retirement. "Like other car manufacturers, we had to revise our volume forecasts for 2020. So we made the difficult decision to adjust our pace of work at the Mini plant in Oxford from October," said Bob Shankly, Director of Human Resources.
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"This will give us the flexibility we need to adapt our production in the short and medium term according to developments in international markets," he said. The United Kingdom is special for BMW since it is the only country in the world where it has industrial sites, since the early 2000s, for its three brands, namely BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce.
Besides its factory in Oxford, it produces bodies for the Mini in Swindon (south), BMW engines at Hams Hall (center) and Rolls-Royce at Goodwood (south). The group directly employs around 8,000 people in the country, to which are added 14,000 additional jobs in its dealer network. It has invested nearly 2 billion pounds (2.2 billion EUR) since 2000 in the United Kingdom, its fourth largest market in the world.
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BMW, which has already unveiled 6,000 job cuts in 2020 in the group, is far from being the only one to announce workforce cuts in the United Kingdom. Thousands of job cuts have already been announced in the automotive sector in the country with social plans at Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Bentley or McLaren, as well as at dealerships. The British automotive industry is at risk of losing one in six jobs, or around 25,000 jobs, due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the sector association SMMT warned in June.
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