LLEWELLYN Ballard, 23, of Field Avenue, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, was laid off from his agency job at BMW’s assembly line in December.

For the past two months, the father-of-one has searched fruitlessly for a new job.

He now faces an even harder fight for employment following the car giant’s decision to axe another 850 agency staff on Monday.

Mr Ballard said: “I was just gutted when I heard about the latest job cuts.

“Now there are 850 more people fighting for the same job I want, with the same qualifications and experience as me.

“I feel useless at the moment anyway, but it is going to make it 850 times worse.”

Mr Ballard, who was a Right4staff agency worker at BMW from November 2007 -February 2008, and from July last year until he was laid off, said he had been earning up to £1,600 a month at BMW.

He now lives off £45 a week JobSeekers’ Allow- ance, which he said left him with £10 a week after utility bills, rent repayments, which are reduced because of his job situation, and child benefit.

Mr Ballard said: “There is nothing out there and everyone is in the same boat. I feel like a bum at the moment because I have got a daughter and I am out of work — it is not me at all.

“I want to be earning money.”


FORMER Mini plant worker Jamie Macfarlane has been left in such a bad position that he couldn’t even buy his girlfriend Jenny De Almeida – both pictured above with their 15-month-old daughter Matilda – a birthday present yesterday.

Mr Macfarlane — who has another child on the way — lost his job as an agency worker on the factory’s weekend shift three weeks ago, and has left virtually penniless while he waits for his benefits.

Mr Macfarlane, 28, said: “It was my girlfriend’s birthday and I couldn’t afford to buy her a present.

“I have been waiting for my benefits to come through since applying for them on January 29 but there is a backlog. We have been very fortunate because we have been bailed out by family. Were it not for them we would be out on the street.”

While Mr Macfarlane was entitled to a week’s redundancy pay, he had to pay back £980 for the 96 hours he owed the company as part of its working time account because of the Christmas shutdown, leaving him with virtually nothing.

Jenny, 26, is expecting a baby in July and will have to give up her part-time job as a waitress at Fishers in St Clement’s.

The couple recently moved from a shared house to a new rented home in Bennett Crescent, Cowley.

Mr Macfarlane said: “When we moved I was not aware that I was going to lose my job. We paid the deposit on the Tuesday and then I found out I was losing my job on the Friday.

“I offered to work back the time I owed but they would not let me.”