LONDON -- Unite members at BMW in Cowley have temporarily been laid-off because of Spanish fuel protests.
3,000 workers at the site in Oxfordshire were sent home on full pay on Friday 13th June, in line with the Working Time Account when production ground to a halt after component parts they rely on could not be shipped from the continent.
The Working Time Account allows members to bank hours and also in situations like these they can go in to deficit. Contractually they can owe up to 200 hours but must pay these hours back to BMW at a later stage.
"Although our members are getting paid this is a very frustrating situation for them. No one wants to owe hours as they will have to make these up,” said Ray Dillon, Unite Regional Official.
"This proves that relying on shipments of parts from abroad is risky and that moving manufacturing to Europe to save money does not always pay off," he continued.
Production staff were turning out 49 cars per hour. BMW has lost 45 hours of production and in excess of 2,000 cars this weekend.
The shipment Cowley is waiting on contains rear lights and brake pads.
Providing shipments can get out of Spain production should resume tonight.