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BWW workers to hold protest in dispute over pensions

BMW workers from the Cowley plant in Oxfordshire and the Swindon plant are joining other workers to stage a protest outside one of the car maker's prestige showrooms as part of a dispute over pensions.

Members of the Unite union will demonstrate at the site in London's Park Lane today ahead of a fresh wave of strikes in protest at the closure of their final salary pension scheme.

Workers have staged two days of walkouts and will take six more days of industrial action in the coming weeks.

Workers are holding a protest in a dispute over pensions Credit: ITV Meridian

"Our members take great pride in building the vehicles on display in BMW's flagship showroom on Park Lane. It is because of their hard work and efficiency that BMW and its shareholders can enjoy bumper profits and record sales.

"Yet their reward from BMW bosses is the closure of their pension scheme and the potential loss of up to £160,000 in retirement income. We will be highlighting this 'pension robbery' and the refusal of BMW to talk about affordable options to keep the scheme open when we protest outside the car maker's posh Park Lane showroom.

"We urge BMW's bosses to listen to its world-class workforce, drop its deadline for the pension scheme's closure and negotiate a settlement which is good for the business and the workforce."

– Unite national officer Fred Hanna

Concern for missing Oxford woman

Claire Gill was last seen in Didcot more than a week ago Credit: Thames Valley Police

Police are appealing for the public's help to find a woman who is missing and it is believed she may be in Oxford.

Claire Gill, aged 38, was last seen in Didcot on Friday 8th January.

She is white, slim, approximately 5ft 5ins tall with blonde hair and blue eyes. When she was last seen she was wearing black trousers, a black t-shirt, black jacket and black shoes.

Police are concerned for Claire’s welfare and would like to locate her in order to check that she is safe. She is known to have links to the Cowley area of Oxford.


Former BMW worker jailed for defrauding company of £6 million

He turned to crime to fund a lavish lifestyle. Tonight, though, he is behind bars. Accountant Johannes Franken siphoned off almost six million pounds from his employers - BMW Mini at Cowley, in Oxfordshire. He used it to buy luxury cars and a diving school in Mauritius. Divya Kohli reports on how an employee took his car maker bosses for a ride.

Former BMW employee jailed for stealing millions from the company

An accountant is behind bars after he used fraud to steal almost £6 million from BMW to fund his lavish lifestyle.

Johannes Franken, 50, of Fockbury Road in Bromsgrove, made false representations and altered supplier invoices at the business in Cowley to pay funds into his account. He spent more than £200,000 on cars and holidays.

Johannes Franken will spend five years behind bars

He was sentenced to five years and four months in prison at Oxford Crown Court after pleading guilty to money laundering and fraud.

The company says they have had to review their procedures to avoid it happening in the future.

I hope this sentence will act as a deterrent and show that crime does not pay.

– Investigating officer Det Sgt Duncan Wynn

Man arrested on suspicion of robbing shop dressed as Santa

A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of robbing a Next store just before Christmas while dressed as Santa.

The man went into the staff section of the shop in Oxford Retail Park, Cowley.

He threatened a member of staff with a knife and demanded cash from the shop's safe.

Once this had been given to him the man then made off on a bicycle towards Blackbird Leys Bridge.

The man has been bailed until May 21 for the robbery which took place on December 23.

Anyone with information about the offence should contact Det Con Tom Mansfield at Thames Valley Police on 101 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A cash reward is being offered for information about the incident.

Man arrested for dangerous driving after cyclist dies

Police are appealing for witnesses after a cyclist died in Oxford this morning.

The cyclist and a Nissan Micra were involved in a crash in Watlington Road at the junction with Garsington Road in Cowley.

Thames Valley Police were called at 5:41am but sadly, he died at the scene.

A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and is currently in police custody.

Police are calling on anyone who may have seen the crash to contact Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101.


Prime Minister hails Mini plant's centenary

Some of the cars that have been built in Oxford. Credit: PA

Prime Minister David Cameron has congratulated Mini makers BMW as the company marked the 100th anniversary of carmaking at Oxford.

It was on March 28, 1913 that the Cowley plant at Oxford produced its first car - the Bullnose Morris Oxford.

Mr Cameron said: "The Government is working closely with the automotive industry so that it continues to compete and thrive in the global race, and the success of Mini around the world stands as a fine example of British manufacturing at its best.

"The substantial contribution which the Oxford plant has made to the local area and the British economy over the last 100 years is something we should be proud of."

The Cowley plant has produced more than 11 million vehicles in its 100 years.

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