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Support for out-of-work BMW agency staff

16 February 2009

The leaders of Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council have joined with the regional development agency to pledge support for locally based BMW agency workers who have lost their jobs at Oxford’s Cowley plant.

The company announced on the morning of 16 February that 850 agency staff were to lose their jobs over the coming weeks.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council officers will work with Jobcentre Plus, the Learning and Skills Council and SEEDA to provide information, advice and guidance to the affected staff.

The services will also be able to provide training courses in CV writing and to develop job search skills to help people get back into work.

Councillor Keith Mitchell, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: "Work is ongoing in the City to open a Job Club similar to the one pioneered by Tony Baldry MP in Banbury. Given the news from BMW, there is clearly some urgency in getting this up and running.

"In addition to the agency workers at BMW, there is every danger that there may be job losses along the supply chain into BMW and we need to be ready with support and advice on benefits, on re-skilling and on job opportunities very quickly.

"I am determined that we work together to support our local work force to ensure that Oxfordshire leads the way out of recession."

Councillor Bob Price, the Leader of Oxford City Council, said: "This is a major blow to the local economy.

"We are deeply disturbed for the workers concerned of the suddenness of the news and the impact of the job losses on their families.

"The city council will be working with the county council and the development agency to support the workers through Jobcentre Plus and the Learning and Skills Council to assist them in the future."

SEEDA Chief Executive, Pam Alexander, said: "SEEDA has a very clear offer of support for businesses such as BMW in the current economic downturn.

"BMW is a major employer in the South East and SEEDA is now working urgently with Job Centre Plus and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to offer direct support to individuals who have lost their jobs, matching those affected with other local employers and offering re-training.

"We will also be working with the company, local authorities and other partners in the area to help mitigate the effects of this announcement on those companies who supply goods and services to BMW and are affected by the slowdown in demand."

People should call 0845 351 0646 to access an information, advice and guidance worker. Business Link can be contacted on 0845 600 9006.

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