London: Indian business conglomerate Tatas’ British connection is set to get even stronger with the group expecting a significant surge in its employee strength in the UK as it expands operations and buys more firms.
With about 30,000 Tata employees, the European nation is home to the largest workforce of any Indian business house. This represents a little less than 10% of Tata group’s entire headcount of about 3,30,000 people across the world.
“Initially when we started business here 100 years ago in 1907, it was some sort of window office to the world business of the group. We were taking care of issues like procurement and logistics. Today we are a 14-company strong group here with 30,000 employees,” S.A. Hasan, Managing Director of group’s UK subsidiary Tata Ltd, said here.
In addition, steel maker Corus, which it had acquired earlier this year for about $13 billion, is associated with a small business initiative that has created over 66,000 jobs in the country.
Corus has a subsidiary called UK Steel Enterprise that provides finance and advice to small businesses and over 4,200 businesses have benefited, creating over 66,000 new jobs.
“We feel proud to say that we are the largest Indian employer in the UK,” he said.
One of the main growth strategies for the group for expansion has been mergers and acquisitions, especially in the British market. This route is likely to lead to a significant surge in the number of employees, as was the case with Corus deal, Hasan said.
Unlike a typical merger and acquisition deal where a large number of employees are laid off as part of the integration process, the acquisitions made by Tatas here have hardly led to job terminations, Hasan said.
When asked whether a possible acquisition of Jaguar-Land Rover from US carmaker Ford would also be without any job cuts, Hasan said: “You cannot keep the children (employees) out when you bring home a mother (a company).”
“Corus integration is in very advanced stage and there are no apprehensions about job losses at all,” he said.
“Some people have left, but that was mostly due to strategic and personal reasons... such as earlier it was a listed company and now it has gone private so there is hardly need for a big investor relations team. Therefore, some people might have felt to better join a listed company.”
However, these were personal decisions and not layoffs, he emphasised.
The group has hired global consultancy major Accenture to assist in the integration process, according to Hasan.
Among the 14 companies under the Tata banner in the UK, Corus has the biggest workforce with 23,700 employees. This excludes its large workforce in the Netherlands, Hasan said.
TCS, the group’s software arm, has close to 5,000 people here. “TCS began as a literally one-man office here... today we are nearly 5,000 strong,” Hasan said.