Layoffs provoke anger in Britain

OXFORD, England, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A layoff of 850 at a BMW plant in Britain provoked an angry reaction from workers, one of whom said the company gave short notice of the action.

"It's a disgrace. I feel as though I've been used. We should have been given one month's notice, not one hour," one worker told The Times of London.


Unite union leader Tony Woodley called the layoff "scandalous," as it targeted agency workers who weren't eligible for severance pay.

BMW said it would reduce production at the plant near Oxford, England, from seven days a week to five.

The plant produces the Mini Cooper, which has had robust sales in recent years but suffered a 35 percent drop in sales last month due to the ongoing recession, The Times said.

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

Derek Simpson, of Unite, said the layoffs showed how deep the recession had gone, given BMW was "hugely profitable."

"There is a huge onus on the government to ... to support the motor industry and encourage people to buy cars," he said to The Times.


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