TRADE union Unite says it will be negotiating to retain jobs and support Jaguar Land Rover workers facing unemployment.
Unite added the heavy cut-backs should have ‘alarm bells ringing’ in government about the UK’s faltering automotive sector.
JLR is to cut up to 1,000 agency jobs in Solihull and transfer hundreds of permanent employees from its Lode Lane plant – which employs over 10,000 people.
The luxury car manufacturer will not renew the contracts of temporary agency staff due to the fall in demand for diesel models and the increasing pressures of Brexit.
A JLR spokesperson confirmed yesterday: “In light of the continuing headwinds impacting the car industry, we are making some adjustments to our production schedules and the level of agency staff.”
Describing the news as a blow to the West Midlands economy, Unite warned ministers decreasing consumer confidence, and the government’s ‘aggressive approach to diesel’ were harming Britain’s car industry.
The government has recently announced levies on diesel cars in an attempt to reduce demand for the fuel which is said to produce more toxic air pollution than petrol.
But the union has said the transition from diesel has been rushed and poorly managed – and it has appealed to the government to reconsider its approach.
Unite national officer for JLR Des Quinn said: “This announcement is a blow for a top class workforce that has worked hard to turn Jaguar Land Rover’s fortunes around in recent years.
“It should be a wake-up call for minsters and have alarm bells ringing in the highest levels of government.
“Confusion over diesel cars prompted by badly thought through ministerial announcements, plus faltering consumer confidence allied with Brexit uncertainty are the major factors behind this announcement.
“With falling car sales a sure sign that consumers are tightening their belts, the government needs to get the economy out of the slow lane and provide certainty over the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe.
“Ministers also need to help ensure a ‘just’ transition from diesel and petrol engines to electric powered vehicles to secure decent high skilled jobs in the UK as part of a vibrant industrial strategy.
“In the coming days Unite will be working closely with the company in our fight to retain jobs while giving our members the maximum support possible through this difficult time.”
JLR’s union representatives say figures for March, a traditionally strong month, were down 26 per cent for the UK.
Meanwhile, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed that new car registrations across the UK industry fell in March by 15 per cent compared with the same month last year with diesel registrations down by nearly two fifths.
The Observer has contacted JLR and is still awaiting confirmation with regards to the precise number of employees set to lose their jobs.