Tata Motors JLR to cut 500 jobs at UK factory to optimise production

Representative Image

Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) on Wednesday said that around 500 jobs will be affected as it cuts down on shifts to optimise car production at its Halewood factory in Merseyside.

The factory, which builds the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport in the north west of England, will move from a three shift to a "two-plus" shift pattern from April as part of what the company says is an efficiency programme and does not imply a loss of volume.

"Through its ongoing transformation programme, Jaguar Land Rover is taking action to optimise performance, enable sustainable growth and safeguard the long-term success of our business. Central to the Halewood manufacturing strategy, we are moving from a three shift to a two-plus' shift pattern from April 2020," a JLR statement said.

"This will deliver significant operating efficiencies at the plant, while enabling us to meet the growing customer demand for our new Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport. This change in shift pattern affects around 10 per cent of Halewood's workforce," the statement noted.

The Tata Group company said that the new two plus shift pattern was agreed as part of the pay negotiations last year and employees have the option to access an enhanced voluntary redundancy programme.

There are currently just under 4,000 employees at Halewood, excluding agency staff, and the latest announcement is likely to affect around 500 jobs at the site, the company said.

It comes as the company continues to implement Project Charge, its GBP 2.5-billion programme unveiled last year to improve long-term profitability and cash flow.

The UK's largest automotive manufacturer has been struggling alongside the wider car industry amid a weakening demand for luxury car models in China and falling demand for diesel vehicles across the European market. Amid a drop in car sales, JLR had announced around 4,500 job cuts last year.

Meanwhile, it has unveiled plans to produce a range of new electrified vehicles in the UK as it prepares to offer electrified options for all Jaguar and Land Rover models.

The company has made repeated interventions against a hard Brexit, which would impact the current alignment with the European Union (EU). There are fears of supply chains being impacted after the UK leaves the EU on 31 January, with the automotive sector particularly at risk.

Trade unions have called on the government to ensure frictionless trade in the long term after Brexit to protect the industry.

This is a further blow to the UK car industry in general and to our members at Halewood in particular, said Des Quinn, national officer at union Unite.

He said: "The UK's car industry has plummeted from being the jewel in the crown of the UK's manufacturing sector in a few short years, directly as a result of government inaction.

"Until the government ensures that there is long-term frictionless trade and no tariffs with the European Union along with meaningful investment in the infrastructure to ensure the success of electric vehicles, the UK's car industry will continue to experience severe challenges," he said.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel