Downturn hits Mini jobs

BMW has announced plans to cut 850 jobs at its Mini factory in Oxford as the economic downturn continues to weaken demand.



The German manufacturer said that it would now operate five days a week instead of seven following a downsizing of the company’s production, which will come into effect on 2 March.



In a statement, the company said: ‘While Mini has been weathering the economic downturn, it is not immune from the challenges of the current situation. Against this backdrop, the company felt that a review of its shift patterns was necessary.’



The cuts will affect agency staff at the Cowley plant, with those working weekend shifts to lose their jobs with immediate effect.



In late 2008, BMW cited adverse exchange rate factors and high raw material prices as the reason behind its poor results. The first three quarters suffered a €1.3bn (£1.2bn) deficit with pre-tax profits down to €1.5m.



The group’s announcement follows a wave of job losses from UK car makers. In recent months, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Ford have also announced job losses following a severe downturn in profits.