Jobcentre Plus has spent the morning at BMW’s Mini plant to take benefits claims from the hundreds of agency workers sacked earlier this week.
The car manufacturer made 850 staff redundant on Monday (16 February) as the firm announced it was curbing production, operating five days per week instead of seven. The move – which gave agency workers just one hour’s notice with no redundancy pay – caused outrage among unions, which described the job losses as “opportunistic”.
Earlier today, Jobcentre staff visited the production plant in Cowley, Oxford, to help process hundreds of benefits claims simultaneously. The town centre’s Jobcentre will also stay open this Saturday (21 February) to deal with the surge in demand.
A Jobcentre Plus spokesman told Personnel Today: “We have gone out to the Cowley site to sit with people that have been made redundant and go through their benefit claims. We have to be invited by the employer – Jobcentre Plus has worked closely with BMW to provide this.”
He added there was no preference of treatment for the Cowley workers above any other people being made redundant, as Jobcentre services were in huge demand across the country as more industries make job cuts.
Sacked staff will also get the chance to pick up ‘job kits’, which give advice on how to write a CV or cover letter to find a new job. “Our staff will give those [now unemployed] workers advice and if they have any knowledge or details of companies looking for work they will pass that on,” the spokesman said.
The Mini plant is in the middle of a week-long shutdown and will not re-open until 23 February. When work resumes, the plant will no longer operate weekend shifts.