JAGUAR Land Rover has today announced 4,500 job losses.
It is a major blow to Coventry, Solihull and the West Midlands, with tens of thousands of other jobs in the supply chain.
The jobs will be shed ‘globally’, but many are expected to come in our region, the Coventry-based company announced.
It is part of a £2.5billion savings programme over an initial 18 months and beyond.
Today’s expected announcement follows a year of job losses and business uncertainty at the luxury car-maker.
As we have reported, hundreds of jobs went at Solihull’s Lode Lane plant and at Castle Bromwich.
Around 1,000 workers also switched to a three-day week.
The volatility has been explained by the switch away from diesel and government taxes on the polluting fuel, as well as the transition to electric technology which JLR is investing in.
JLR chief executive Ralf Speth has also repeatedly warned of mass job losses resulting from a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
The company announced today its “next phase of a major transformation plan to lay the foundations for long-term sustainable profitable growth”.
It said the measures would create a “leaner, more resilient organisation; reducing global workforce by around 4,500 people. This is in addition to 1,500 people who left the business in 2018.”
There will be “further investment into electrification with Electric Drive Units to be produced at Wolverhampton Engine Manufacturing Centre and new Battery Assembly Centre to be established at Hams Hall, North Warwickshire.
Dr Speth said: “Decisive action will help deliver resilient long-term growth as Jaguar Land Rover implements cost and profit improvements.
“This will safeguard our future and enable vital ongoing investment into
Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared technologies.”
Voluntary redundancy will be sought in the first instance.
The UK workforce is 40,000, the majority of which are based in the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire region.
Dr Speth added: “We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry.
JLR says its ‘Charge and Accelerate’ programme has identified over £1bn of improvements, with more than £500mn already realised in 2018.
In the last year, JLR’s range has expanded to include the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with PHEV derivatives and, most
recently, the new Range Rover Evoque, also with ‘next-generation’ hybrid technology.
In 2018, the company ‘continued its global expansion’ with the opening of its latest vehicle manufacturing plant in Slovakia.
Jaguar Land Rover also confirmed plans to invest in its Solihull plant to support the introduction of the next generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
Solihull MP Julian Knight said: “This is a blow to our community as Jaguar Land Rover is in our town’s DNA.
“Over the past few years Jaguar Land Rover has made huge strides, cementing its reputation as one of the UK’s most recognisable brands and exporting from Solihull all over the world. “This news creates a difficult and uncertain time for those employed by JLR and their families. My office and I are available to assist with any concerns which may be had during this time.
“This week myself and Caroline Spelman MP met privately with the chancellor, Philip Hammond, and emphasised to him the importance of Jaguar Land Rover’s plant to our community in Solihull.
“I also stressed again, as I have to other cabinet ministers including Greg Clark and Michael Gove, the need for sensible changes to regulations covering ‘clean diesel’ engines such as those produced at Lode Lane.
“What we need is clarity regarding Jaguar Land Rover in Solihull, and I will continue to liaise closely with both management and ministers to make sure that the concerns of employees and local residents are heard loud and clear.”
West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “Today’s news will be particularly difficult for the Jaguar Land Rover workers and their families affected by this announcement.
“The decline in sales and job losses are disappointing given the vital importance of JLR to the West Midlands economy.
“Nevertheless, I am confident Jaguar Land Rover will be a critical part of our region’s future success.
“I know the Tata Group and JLR are committed to manufacturing in the West Midlands and to developing a new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles.
“The billions of pounds invested in recent years, the current £500m investment in Solihull, and the new announcements today of the Battery Assembly Centre at Hams Hall and the investment in Electric Drive Unit production at Wolverhampton are clear evidence of that commitment.
“Though the challenges faced by JLR are global issues, such as declining sales in China and declining diesel sales, this news acts as a reminder that it is vitally important to the West Midlands of securing a Brexit deal which allows frictionless trade between the UK and the EU.”
Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman and MP for Erdington Jack Dromey said: “It is, of course, bad news that Jaguar Land Rover is being forced to make further job cuts.
“Since Tata took over the company in 2008, it has gone from strength to strength, creating thousands of jobs in Meriden,Erdington and across many other areas of the UK, transforming the lives of tens of thousands of local people
“However, recent years have been difficult; falling sales in China due to global trade wars as well as changing consumer attitudes to diesel vehicles have been damaging.
“These difficulties have been compounded by the continuing uncertainty over Brexit. “Unfortunately, as we get ever closer to March 29, it becomes clearer that if we crashed out of the EU without a deal, announcements like today’s would become widespread and would be devastating for British manufacturing.”
Unite national officer Des Quinn said: “Unite will be scrutinising the business case for these global job cuts, and Unite expects that any UK redundancies will be on a voluntary basis amongst affected employees.
“Jaguar Land Rover workers have had to endure a great deal of uncertainty over recent months as they continue to work hard to ensure the carmaker remains a global leader.
“With record levels of new investment and models set to come on stream in its UK factories we look for Jaguar Land Rover to continue to be a global success and the jewel in Britain’s manufacturing crown.
“But the UK government must play its part too. Britain’s car workers have been caught in the crosshairs of the government’s botched handling of Brexit, mounting economic uncertainty and ministers’ demonisation of diesel, which along with the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, is damaging consumer confidence.
“Government ministers need to wake up and start doing more to support UK’s car workers and their colleagues in the supply chain if Jaguar Land Rover’s recent success is to continue.”