Jaguar Land Rover will slash 500 jobs at its Merseyside plant in fresh blow to UK car industry
- Workers told job losses are a result of ‘flexibility efficiencies’ being brought in
- Unite union says that economic uncertainty and growth forecasts are to blame
- Those set to lose their jobs include both permanent employees and agency staff
Car giant JLR is cutting jobs at one of its UK plants in a fresh blow to the car industry, according to Unite.
The union said it understands the redundancies at Halewood, Merseyside, are a result of ongoing economic uncertainty, with slower than forecast rate of growth for the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport models produced at the factory.
It is understood that hundreds of jobs are set to be cut.
Workers were told on Wednesday that job losses are a result of changing the shift system to deliver flexibility efficiencies that longer term should benefit employees and the company, which is set to come into effect from April.
Staff gather outside the Jaguar Land Rover site in Halewood, Knowsley, on Merseyside in September
The job losses comprise a mixture of permanent employees and agency staff, said Unite.
National officer Des Quinn said: ‘This is a further blow to the UK car industry in general and to our members at Halewood in particular.
Jaguar Land Rover builds a higher proportion of its cars in Britain than any other large firm
‘Unite will be ensuring that the commitment to limit job losses to voluntary redundancies is fully honoured.
‘The challenges being faced at JLR are also being experienced by other UK car factories.
‘The UK’s car industry has plummeted from being the jewel in the crown of the UK’s manufacturing sector in a few short years, directly as a result of Government inaction.
‘Until the Government ensures that there is long-term frictionless trade and no tariffs with the European Union, along with meaningful investment in the infrastructure to ensure the success of electric vehicles, the UK’s car industry will continue to experience severe challenges.’
Jaguar Land Rover became the UK’s largest car manufacturer in 2016 but sales have declined precipitously in China in 2018
The firm, owned by Indian conglomerate Tata, booked a £90 million pre-tax loss in the three months to September 30, which compared with a £385 million profit in the same period in 2017.
It cut around 1,000 jobs in 2018, shut its Solihull plant for two weeks and announced a three-day week at its Castle Bromwich site.
JLR was expected to build one million vehicles by 2020, but sales in the first eleven months of 2018 dropped 4.4 percent.
Depressed spending in China hit the company hard last year, with the US-China trade war leading consumers in the world’s most populous country to hold back from purchasing expensive items – as also seen in Apple’s latest figures.
China was JLR’s biggest market but its sales there fell off a cliff last year, dropping 44 per cent between July and September 2019 and turning China from its biggest sales market to its smallest.
Diesel accounts for 90 percent of the firm’s British, and 45 percent its global, sales – and demand in that segment of the market has tumbled following new levies in the wake of the scandal.