Around 400 jobs are to be cut at the MINI car plant in Oxford in the coming weeks due to reduced customer demand.
MINI Oxford has 4,000 employees, of which 950 work on an agency basis. BMW, which owns the plant, said 400 out of the agency workers would be affected.
Production at the factory in Cowley was halted in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, with work resuming in May. However, a “substantial” fall in customer demand during lockdown has led to a decision to reduce the number of shifts at the plant.
By mid-October, the factory will move from a three-shift pattern to a two-shift pattern, while continuing to operate five days a week.
Agency personnel employed by Gi Group will be retained according to criteria such as length of service, individual skills and disciplinary records.
Those affected, all of whom work full time on the production line, will be informed in mid-September.
Bob Shankly, human resources director at MINI Oxford, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a substantial impact on customer demand and, like other automotive manufacturers, our volume forecasts for 2020 have had to change accordingly.
“We have, therefore, made the difficult decision to adjust our shift patterns at MINI Plant Oxford from October. This will give us the flexibility we need to adapt our production in the short to medium term, according to developments in global markets.
“Our decision has been made after close discussion with trade union representatives and we are aware that our plans will have an impact on people during an uncertain and worrying time.
“We have sought to protect as many jobs as we can, while also taking the necessary steps to ensure the stability of our business in light of this current period of volatile and unpredictable market conditions.”