Employees at BMW's Cowley site in Oxfordshire today accepted a new two-year pay deal, the Times reported.

The agreement comes less than two weeks after the workers at the factory rejected the first pay deal by 46 votes: a rise of four per cent in the first year and a three per cent increase the following year.

Quoting Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) officials, the Times says that there was disagreement over the new flexible arrangements, which included a extension to the working week and a grading scheme of work-related pay.

Today's deal, however, will make the staff the highest paid car workers in the UK and is expected to ensure that the new investment in Cowley will proceed.

The Times quotes the union's regional organiser Ivor Braggins as saying that this was a very good result and a vote of confidence in the planned new investment for the plant.

Over 90 per cent of the workers took part in the ballot, with 1,299 for and 288 against the deal.

Pay talks at Cowley, which employs over 2,000, have been going on since the factory was retained by Germany's BMW following last year's break-up of Rover Group.

The TGWU said that talks between BMW and trade unions to secure the long-term future development of the new Mini at the Cowley factory were expected to continue, reported the Times.

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