Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/567/6938
Anger as jobs slashed with an hour's notice
Workers at BMW's Mini plant at Cowley in Oxford reacted in fury when they were given an hour's notice that they were losing their jobs.
850 jobs were axed and the workers sent off the site on the morning of 16 February, as the whole weekend shift was cut. These agency workers are not entitled to redundancy payments. The remaining workforce will now have to change their working patterns.
All Gordon Brown could say was: "Clearly this is very disappointing news", angering the workers. But as these quotes from two workers show, there was also anger at the union's incapacity to organise an effective campaign to defend jobs: "It's not just the temps that have been shafted, the permanents got just one week's notice to change their whole lifestyle. Some are unable to come back [after this week's shutdown] as they are single parents.
"I'm sure there will be more attacks under a union leader who likes to sit in his office and, when people have a problem, gets the hump as it's too much hassle for him. As long as he's still getting his perks and car and travel he will continue to sell us down the river."
"The most disgraceful thing about this situation is that all the agency workers are being categorised as temporary workers when most of them have been working there for over two years, if not even longer. This shows the government neglect towards agency workers in the UK. This is a prime indicator that laws need to be changed. I have been working at the Mini plant for over three years and I'm doubtful if I'll have a job after the shut down".
In The Socialist 18 February 2009:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis