16.02.09: BMW's PR disaster over job cuts

Time 13 years ago

miniTalk about a PR disaster. If you’re going to lay workers off you need to do it with some decorum – and BMW certainly didn’t do that.

Bosses at the Mini plant at Cowley, Oxfordshire, told 850 temporary workers that they wouldn’t be needed again – an hour before their shift was due to end.

The manufacturer blamed ‘falling sales’ for axing the posts – canning weekend shifts at the plant in favour of a five-day week.

One worker I heard on the radio was understandably disgusted. ‘They must have known about this for months,’ he said. ‘Why did they have to tell us with an hour left of our shift to go?’

It’s a very fair point. With a PR department the size of a football team you’d have thought someone would have flagged it up as a ‘bad idea’ especially with job cuts high on the news agenda.

Is the manufacturer really surprised it’s been leading news bulletins on the radio all day?

I honesty feel for those workers. Yes times are tough in the motor industry – we all know that – but there’s no reason to make it even harder by announcing cuts like this the way BMW did.

Is it any wonder union bosses were pelted with fruit and eggs as they told staff? If I was working there I would have got together with a few of my colleagues and thrown a Clubman.

Maybe it would have knocked some sense into them…


Falling sales lead to Mini job cuts





James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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