UNIONS and management at the Cowley Mini plant are in talks over Saturday working at the factory.

Unite union leaders say high demand for the car combined with the upcoming launch of the new Roadster model has meant a Saturday shift is operating every week rather than just occasionally as it had done last year.

They are keen to stress that there is no dispute with management.

Plant convenor Chris Bond said: “Because we have increased volumes we are going to have to work every Saturday until March.

“We are trying to examine the shift pattern to alleviate problems.”

He said Saturday working was made up from staff building up their working time allowance, where hours are banked to be reclaimed at a later date.

Mini parent company BMW scrapped the formal Saturday shift in 2010 with 140 agency workers losing their jobs.

Figures released earlier this month showed Mini had enjoyed its best-ever worldwide sales performance in 2011 with 285,060 vehicles finding owners, a rise of 21.7 per cent on 2010.

Plant spokesman Rebecca Baxter said: “Plant Oxford needs to ensure that shift patterns are able to match production with customer demand.”