Unions demand Government action over Jaguar Land Rover job threats
Unions have called a high level summit of MPs to an emergency meeting at the House of Commons to preserve thousands of West Midland jobs feared under threat at Jaguar Land Rover.
The London summit is being held on Wednesday amid growing resistance from unions over JLR’s new Business Plan, including the planned closure of either the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich or Land Rover at Solihull and the veneer manufacturing site at Browns Lane, Coventry.
Unions reiterated that they are opposed to any plant closure and called on JLR owners Tata to consider bringing the European version of the Nano – the world’s cheapest car – to Castle Bromwich to stave off a potential shutdown.
And they revealed that two major sticking points on changes to pensions and a reduction in salary rates for new starters had already been removed by JLR ahead of further discussions.
Des Quinn, Unite regional industrial organiser, said: “We remain unconvinced that there is a need to shut any plant. There is real concern that they want to move production abroad.
“We are not happy, we believe that the company are looking at the plans with rose-tinted glasses.
“We still believe that there are a number of issues that are not that good for the business and are not that good for the future of JLR in the UK. We have already made £80 million worth of concessions and what the company has tabled is unacceptable.
“People need to understand that we are not moaning for the sake of it because we are an awkward shower. All West Midland MPs and all North West MPs have been invited on Wednesday and we are hoping that there is a sizeable number there.”
Mr Quinn said “no-go areas” such as JLR’s bid to introduce a new defined benefit pension scheme from next April and new starter pay rates had been removed for now.
“They have backtracked on them. We are prepared to discuss pensions but what concessions we are prepared to make, I do not know. It is not going to be anything substantial.”
He urged Tata to consider building the European version of the Nano – the world’s cheapest car – at Castle Bromwich.
“I do not think that our members are particularly bothered what car they build. A car is a car and if that keeps people in employment, that is good news.
“But that is a decision for Tata. It is not something Jaguar Land Rover have spoken about.”
Jaguar Land Rover spokesman Jonathan Griffiths said: “We remain open to discussions with trade union representatives about Jaguar Land Rover’s plans to unlock the true potential of the business.
“That has been our position since September 24 when we announced a new Business Plan that outlined major investments in new products and new technologies that respond to the challenges of climate change while addressing the need to improve our cost-base to compete effectively in the global automotive industry.”