Mini employees in Oxford threatened with going without pay

Workers at the Mini plant at Cowley in Oxford are being threatened with going without pay, according to union leaders.  

The Unite Union says the company is refusing to use the furlough scheme to cover wages - when production of the Mini has had to be temporarily halted.

Production at Oxford's Mini plant was suspended for three working days due to a shortage of computer chips

The union says this is despite the shortage of semiconductor parts, being directly linked to the pandemic.

In a statement BMW said, "As a result of the global lack of availability of semiconductor components, an issue that has been affecting the entire automotive industry for several months, it has been necessary for Plant Oxford to stand down a number of production shifts. (Friday 30 April, Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 May; Thursday 13 and Friday 14 May; Thursday 20 and Friday 21 May). We are monitoring the situation very closely and are in constant communication with our associates and suppliers.

"BMW Group was surprised to read the press release from Unite, as the Company is in advanced negotiations with the Trade Union regarding potential arrangements to ensure that the monthly base pay of associates is maintained during these current stand downs, including those that have already taken place.

"It is anticipated these negotiations will be concluded in the near future and details of what is agreed will be communicated by the end of this week at the very latest. 

Unite regional officer Scott Kemp said: "BMW is attempting to use the semiconductor shortage to undermine the existing terms and conditions of its workforce. Unite has been attempting to resolve this problem through negotiation, currently without success.

The Mini plant at Cowley, Oxford