Hundreds of agency workers at BMW’s Hams Hall plant near Birmingham are to be made permanent employees, guaranteeing job security for years.

The change, being made in two phases, was warmly welcomed by the Unite union, describing it as a great Christmas present.

The announcement covers workers across a number of BMW sites including the Mini plant in Oxford, pressings plant in Swindon and Hams Hall engine site, at Coleshill.

Unite officer Roger Maddison said: “In an uncertain world the best Christmas present for working families is job security.

"We are delighted that 1,000 BMW agency workers are to be made permanent with guaranteed job security beyond 2020.

“It is a prime example of unions and employers working together to make a lasting and positive impact in the workplace.

“The deal is also an indication of the strength of the car industry and the skills of the workforce.”

BMW said: “As a major UK employer, investor and exporter, this announcement underlines BMW Group’s further commitment to the UK as a strategically important production and sales location for the company.

"The initial recruitment phase covers 700 jobs and will start in the New Year with the recruitment process for the remaining 300 contracts starting in 2016.”