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A Mini working week as all-new model gears up
WORKERS at the Cowley Mini plant are to be put on a three-day week as the factory gears up for the launch of its latest model.
Union leaders say the scale of work being carried out at the plant is such that the workforce will have to cut their shifts until next February when the new model will go into full production.
Bosses say not all of the 4,000-strong workforce will be affected and staff will continue to be paid. But they will have to work the time back once the plant is fully up and running.
One worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “Working the time back messes about with your family. It is not our fault that maint-enance can’t run the buildings properly.
“Everyone is running around like lunatics at the minute as they want more work from fewer people.”
Members of Unite union are currently negotiating with management over when the three day week will start for workers and agency staff at the plant.
But it is expected to begin around mid-November and include the normal shut-down over the Christmas period with more details set to be unveiled in the next week.
Chris Bond, Unite union convenor at the plant, said: “We are just starting pre-production of the new model and everything is being changed.
“It is a completely new ball game for us.
“But the main thing is no-one is going to lose their jobs.”
He said the employees had known about the plans for a several months and had been able to work overtime to build up lieu time they are taking off.
Mini parent company BMW has ploughed £750m into production of the third generation Mini – the majority of which has gone towards developing machinery to build the new car. It is due to be officially launched at Cowley on November 18.
Plant spokesman Wayne Morse said: “For a brief period we will see shorter working hours while production of the current Mini hatchback decreases and production of the new model increases.
“This will involve three day working in some but not all areas of the plant which will progressively increase as the new vehicle volume ramps up.
“The finer details of these arrangements across the plant are still being discussed and agreed.”
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