London: Indian conglomerate Tatas are expected to cut as many as 5,000 jobs at their steel and auto subsidiaries in the UK — Corus and Jaguar Land Rover — in the coming weeks.
About 3,500 jobs are anticipated to go at Corus this week itself, while Jaguar Land Rover is expected to see another 1,500 layoffs in the coming weeks, The Sunday Times has reported.
“Britain’s largest steelmaker, Corus is poised to cut up to 3,500 jobs this week in one of the biggest blows yet to the faltering manufacturing sector.
“Further large-scale job losses are expected within weeks, with Jaguar Land Rover understood to be considering another 1,500 layoffs,” the newspaper said.
Tata group firm Tata Steel had purchased Anglo-Dutch steel maker Corus for about £6.7 billion in 2007.
Another group entity Tata Motors snapped up luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover last year for more than two billion dollars from American auto major Ford.
Meanwhile, the report noted job cuts at Corus are likely to “overshadow this week’s announcement by Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, of aid for the car industry”.
The UK government is expected to come up with assistance to boost the country’s car industry, which is hit by the economic downturn.
“It is understood the planned job cuts (at Corus) will come across the company’s 23,000-strong British workforce, and are not expected to lead to the closure of any large sites,” the report said.
Quoting one industry insider, The Sunday Times said, “This is not about site closure. This is about making Corus in the UK competitive”.
The Sunday Times said union leaders have been in last-ditch talks with the government in an attempt to fend off some of the job cuts.
“In the case of Corus, they have pressed ministers to adopt a system offered by the Dutch government. Corus has operations in the Netherlands, where the state makes up the pay of workers put on short working weeks,” the report noted.
Pointing out it was unclear Saturday night whether the government had turned its back on such a scheme, the newspaper added, “but it is understood that the Corus job losses will go ahead”.
“They are part of a long-term restructuring drawn up by outgoing chief executive Philippe Varin. Numbers were being finalised this weekend,” the newspaper said.
Noting that the Corus management had planned to introduce the changes gradually, the report said the plan has been accelerated by the crisis in the world steel industry.
Coruss steelmaking operations are at Port Talbot, Scunthorpe and Teesside, with steel processing at sites in South Wales, Scotland and the Midlands.