Home > companies > news > Workers at JLR want assurances on their jobs

Two days after Tata Motors Ltd’s Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) unit decided to consider a plan to build a plant in Saudi Arabia, unions at the firm’s five plants in the UK have sought assurances that jobs will not be cut in the country.

Unite, the UK’s largest trade union, has sought meetings with Tata Motors’ outgoing chairman Ratan Tata and vice-chairman Ravi Kant to discuss the issue, according to a message posted on the trade union’s website on Thursday.

JLR operations in England include manufacturing facilities, an engineering centre and a design facility.

“Three years ago, Unite was delighted to back Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover against fierce opposition. At that time, we received assurances that the quintessentially British-branded products would always be designed, manufactured and be built in Britain. We also received guarantees that the future of Halewood, Castle Bromwich, Solihull and the two design studios would be secure for the long term," said Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite. “In the light of the recent announcements, the assurances we received must be reaffirmed in detail in order to remove the concerns that our members at the UK plants may have."

McCluskey said that JLR has swung to profits because of the efforts made by the firm’s British workforce and Tata Motors, which bought the British iconic car brand in 2008 for $2.3 billion, and should ensure that JLR’s UK plant should get its dues.

“I have personally asked for an urgent meeting with Tata’s chairman and vice-chairman where I expect assurances over the future of Jaguar Land Rover’s UK plants," he said. “The skills, expertise and dedication of the British workforce have put Jaguar Land Rover back into serious profit and on the map as a top luxury car maker. They deserve recognition for the past and certainty for the future. Under my leadership, I intend to ensure the workers at Jaguar Land Rover get that recognition and certainty."

JLR’s combined sales for the January-November period increased 32% to 324,000 units, with China accounting for 73% of the units sold.

Asia-Pacific accounted for 37% of the vehicles sold, the UK 20%, Europe 37% and North America 12%. JLR contributes more than 90% of the profit of Tata Motors.

Unite’s statement came after a letter of intent was signed between Jaguar Land Rover and the National Industrial Clusters Development Program of Saudi Arabia for a feasibility study, which is now under way to consider the nation as a possible future location for a Jaguar Land Rover automotive facility.

A JLR spokesperson said that there is no tension in its UK plants and production is normal.

“Jaguar Land Rover remains committed to the United Kingdom, and any future overseas facilities are in addition to its operations based in the United Kingdom," the spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement said that the company has made significant investments in the UK that include £370 million for the all-new Range Rover and £355 million for an engine-manufacturing facility, which has created 8,000 new jobs in the country over the past two years.

In a separate development, the board of Tata Motors announced the appointment of Cyrus P. Mistry as chairman of the company with effect from 28 December, taking over from Ratan Tata, who will become chairman emeritus.

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