Job cuts for 'betrayed' Mini staff

Union leaders have attacked car maker Mini after workers at its factory in Cowley turned up to work only to be told they had lost their jobs.

Mini announced 850 job cuts, giving workers just one hour's notice and leaving many with no pay-off.

The only staff to be affected by the cuts are agency staff at the huge factory near Oxford, and they took their anger out on union leaders, pelting them with fruit and saying they felt "betrayed".

BMW, the German owner of Mini, has been accused of treating staff like "cannon fodder", and unions have called on the Government to take immediate action to give more rights to agency staff.

Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of Unite, contacted business secretary Lord Mandelson, pressing him to introduce a European directive on agency workers so that those affected by the Cowley cuts would receive redundancy pay.

Production at the plant will be cut from a seven-day week to five days from March 2 as a result of a 35% fall in January sales.

A company statement said: "While Mini has been weathering the economic downturn, it is not immune from the challenges of the current situation."

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