Land Rover workers give mixed reaction to auto industry rescue package
Jan 28 2009 By Anuji Varma
There were mixed reactions to Lord Peter Mandelson’s potential £2.3 billion package for the UK car industry at Solihull’s Land Rover plant.
Many of the workers leaving the Lode Lane site had not seen the speech but were aware that the Business Secretary was to make a speech about the state of the industry.
David Pearson, 41, a quality inspector who has worked at the plant for 24 years, said: “It is going to be a big help. I know that Jaguar Land Rover is seeking for a certain amount of money and this is going to be put to good use through a difficult period.
“The company does need help at this time, although I am not worried about my job because I know this is a very strong firm, given the right kind of support, it will have a successful future.”
David, of Marsden Green, added: “Prior to this recession, the company was doing very well, and it is through no fault of its own that it has found itself in this present position.
“You have to remember that the supply chain is also suffering. It’s not just about the product and I believe this money will help.”
Craig Welch, 26, agreed. The frontline worker, who has been at the plant for two years, added optimistically: “It is good news for the workers here. Anything that will help to boost the business is something that I would welcome.
“The mood hasn’t been brilliant but this may help.”
However, Delroy Bloomfield, 47, of Kings Heath, wasn’t so sure that the package would help the car firm.
“I don’t believe that is enough money for us,” he said. “We need cash to sustain what we are doing. There are engineers working on new products which are tremendous. But a lot of people supplying us are going bust. That is the problem.
“However, Jaguar Land Rover are trying to save our jobs, and they treated us well over Christmas. But that still doesn’t stop us from worrying that our jobs are on the edge. We are in trouble.”
Many workers refused to comment on the speech.
But Andy Travers, 40, who has worked at the plant for 15 years in the production department, added: “Land Rover already has a budget for making cleaner and greener cars. I believe the Government needs to release money from the banks to give to the smaller businesses. At the moment people haven’t got cash to buy cars and that’s where the problem stems from.
“I am pretty optimistic though.”
And Sean Kimberley, 22, who works in logistics at Land Rover, said: “I think the money will benefit not only Land Rover, but all the other car makers that are suffering in this economic crisis.
“I think putting money into the industry is the way forward.”