German carmaker BMW is to cut 400 temporary jobs at its factory making the Mini in the UK due to lower demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group observed a “substantial” decline in demand during containment, which pushed it to reduce the rate of work in this factory located in Oxford (southern England), according to a statement sent to AFP on Wednesday.
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. We therefore made the difficult decision to adjust our work rate at the Mini plant in Oxford from October,” said Bob Shankly, Director of Human Resources.
“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.
In addition to its factory in Oxford, it produces bodies for the Mini in Swindon (south), BMW engines at Hams Hall (center) and Rolls-Royces at Goodwood (south).
2 billion investment
In all, 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 (2.4 billion francs) since 2000 in the United Kingdom, its fourth largest market in the world.
BMW, which has already unveiled 6,000 job cuts in 2020 in the group, is far from 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 automobile industry risks losing one in six jobs, or around 25,000 jobs, due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, warned in June the sector association SMMT.